The registration documents make it easier for poachers to sell the animals to entertainment business operators and other parties.
The issue of 69 documents to certify domesticated elephants in Chaiyaphum in the past three years has highlighted the increased poaching of wild elephants.
Police who have been pursuing elephant poachers recently discovered domesticated elephant authentication papers issued in Chaiyaphum.
The papers are not usually easy to obtain - for 69 of them to have been issued in the past three years is unusual, police said.
Pol Maj Gen Siwara Rangsipharammanakun, deputy chief of the Central Investigation Bureau, said two men, Surat Toemsak and Prasong Butchaiyaphum, applied for and received the 69 papers.
However, police found they were part of a gang which poached wild elephants and lied to state officials that the elephants were domesticated in order to obtain the papers.
They were charged with poaching and possessing wild elephants and giving false statements to officials.
Detectives at the National Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division spent two months tracing the two suspects.
Pol Maj Gen Siwara said he knew the search for them might be a "long, dramatic movie" that will not end easily.
The division was spurred into action after a pregnant female elephant was shot dead and a male elephant was found beheaded in the Petchaburi area of Kaeng Krachan National Park in April.
An intense police search was under way to catch those responsible for the killing of the elephants.
Police believed the poachers operated together with links to gangs around the country.
The poaching gangs were decimating the wild elephant population, Pol Maj Gen Siwara said.
Police received a vital clue which gave them a lead about the poacher networks in Chaiyaphum recently.
They discovered 69 documents had been granted by the local wildlife office in the past three years. Pol Maj Gen Siwara felt something was amiss.
Police found the documents were issued to elephants owned by many elephant camps and animal entertainment venues.
Pol Maj Gen Siwara's team inspected some elephant camps in many provinces and found 27 out of 69 documents belonged to owners of elephants in camps in Phangnga, Phuket, Kanchanaburi, Surin, Chaiyaphum, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai and Trat.
Nine documents were issued to elephants which did not exist, according to the team. It must also be determined whether or not the officials who signed the papers were involved in the illegal activity.
The team was matching the remaining 33 documents with the elephants.
Mr Surat and Mr Prasong later admitted to the wrongdoing, Pol Maj Gen Siwara said.
Pol Maj Gen Siwara said there must be people who colluded with the gang in issuing documents.
The gangs falsified the identity of wild elephants and passed them off as domesticated, he said.
According to investigation, the wrongdoers are using two ways to acquire elephants.
They smuggled elephants, which were too old to do logging work, from Myanmar, into Thailand via Mae Hong Son. Such smuggled jumbos could number in their hundreds, Pol Maj Gen Siwara said.Also, the poachers killed mature wild elephants and took their offspring which were sold to some elephant camps which raised them to perform tricks and shows to tourists.
"This is very cruel," Pol Maj Gen Siwara said.
The police commander said capturing the masterminds of the poaching gangs will take some time.
He said now was only the beginning of what could prove to be a difficult operation to wipe out elephant poaching.
"Our team will use the documents [issued for the elephants] as a starting point for widening our investigation and finally catching the masterminds behind wild elephant trading," he said.
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