Poacher: Is Morris Finn Inspired by a Real Ivory Dealer? Where is He Now?

Prime Video’s crime drama series ‘Poacher’ delves into the expansive network of the ivory trade, offering a comprehensive understanding of its operation, the market demand, and its supply sources. Within this intricate chain, Morris Finn surfaces as a significant figure, becoming one of the initial individuals among the apprehended. His role becomes instrumental in the subsequent arrest of more prominent figures involved in the illicit trade. The series is based on a real investigation and the resemblance between the character of Finn and individuals arrested in the actual case underscores the series’ commitment to reflecting the truth behind the ivory trade!

Who is Morris Finn?

The character of Morris Finn in ‘Poacher’ appears to draw inspiration from two real-life individuals, Aji Bright and Preston Silva, both arrested in connection with the 2015 Malayattoor poaching case. Aji, a seasoned ivory dealer operating since the 1980s, served as a middleman. Local poachers provided him with raw ivory, which he then supplied to manufacturers like Preston Silva, who transformed the material into artifacts, distributing them to dealers across the nation.

Aji Bright//Image Credit: The News Minute

Finn is depicted as an individual who not only procures raw ivory but also operates workshops where the ivory is carved before being supplied to dealers. This portrayal aligns with the real-life scenario under “Operation Shikar,” initiated when a forest watcher-turned-whistleblower revealed extensive poaching activities and admitted his involvement. After tracking Aji’s bank details from September 2013 to June 2015, the authorities discovered transactions totaling Rs 19.31 lakh from various locations, including Delhi, Bengaluru, Mysuru, and Trichy.

In August 2015, Aji and Silva were apprehended by the police with approximately 50 kg of ivory in their possession. Their cooperation proved crucial in revealing the identities of major players in the illegal ivory trade. Among them was Umesh Agarwal from Delhi, from whose residence the officials seized over 400 kg of ivory.

Aji was let out on bail three weeks after the incident, following which he claimed that he had been subjected to custodial torture, accusing a Forest Department official and her husband. He claimed to have endured 18 hours of torture after his arrest. Notably, he did not mention these injuries during his medical examination before being presented to the magistrate. Aji asserted that he refrained from mentioning the alleged torture in court due to threats. He further claimed to have observed blood in his urine after being transferred to jail.

The creators of ‘Poacher’ have exhibited commendable skill in seamlessly integrating real-life individuals like Aji and Silva into the character of Morris Finn. By staying true to actual events, the series authentically portrays the web of illegal ivory trading in India and underscores the criminal intent of the people involved in it. This dedication to presenting an honest narrative highlights the show’s commitment to telling true stories as they happened in reality.

Aji Bright and Preston Silva Are Still Facing Charges Today

In 2016, Aji Bright was charged by the Kerala Forest Department in multiple poaching cases. After securing bail in 2019, he participated in an identification parade overseen by the Crime Branch in 2020, prompted by his earlier complaint. During the same year, he received a summons from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to appear at their Kochi office. Notably, in 2022, Aji was apprehended by the CBI while engaged in distributing milk, connected to a poaching case registered in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, in 2016.

Aji Bright//Image Credit: Mathrubhumi News

In 2021, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed an FIR implicating both Aji and Preston Silva. Subsequently, in April 2022, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) issued a provisional order against their wives under the criminal provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). These charges are related to assets worth Rs 79.23 lakh being targeted under the anti-money laundering law. The cases against them are still ongoing and given the huge expanse in which it lies, it may take some time to be resolved.

Read More: Poacher: Is Alan Joseph Based on an Actual Analyst? Where is He Now?