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BEIJING, April 14, China daily - Forestry officials are charging 17 suspects with illegally purchasing, transporting and selling products connected to endangered wildlife.

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A wild tiger captured on a hi-resolution camera on Dec 18, 2013, in Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province. [Photo/Xinhua]

Authorities say this is the biggest bust of its kind in more than 6-decades.

The charges are the culmination of a sting operation which has been in the works for the last 2-years.

The suspects are accused of trafficking ivory and tiger bones.

Police say the group shipped their illegal products from Guangxi to Beijing and Tianjin.

"We dispatched officers to the city of Nanning in Guangxi to arrest the suspects on the second day of the lunar new year in 2014. Soon afterwards, we uncovered information showing that the ring-leader of the group was not only shipping eight sets of tiger bones to Beijing, but also another 20 sets to Tianjin. After monitoring the suspect for a week, we had enough information.The tiger bones were indeed heading for Tianjin. We captured the delivery men, receivers, and 20 sets of tiger bones."

The tiger bones are valued at 3.5-million yuan.

Tiger bones have been part of Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries.

However, Tigers have since become a protected animal, making it illegal to use tiger bones in TCM.

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