Yet officials are not allowed to truck the ''suspicious'' elephants away - as they once did - for fear of jumbo-sized law suits if an elephant dies on the road.
Jarung Taojan, the owner of a four-year-old female named Nampech, said at his Rawai camp yesterday that the elephant was checked at another Phuket camp in February 2012.
By November 2012, the elephant was reclassified from illegal to legal, Khun Jarung said, which is why he had no hesitation in paying 1.3 million baht for the creature in January this year.
Along with Nampech, raiders focussed yesterday on elephants at the Marriott camp in Mai Khao, Paradise Trip in Chalong, the Sailuan camp, Camp Chang in Kalim, Chang Sea View in Rawai and Eco Elephant Riding in Rawai.
More than 100 raiders took part on Phuket with other camps being inspected simultaneously in Phang Nga and Krabi.
The 14 animals checked in the three Andaman province were among 69 being checked nationwide.
Led by Norrasak Hemnithi, Commander of the Crime Suppression Division, Natural Resources and Environment Department, the team also included National Park rangers, officials from Phuket's Livestock Office, Highway Police, Tourist Police and Marine Police.
National Park regulations forbid government officials from transporting elephants because of their high value and the size of the bill if an animal dies in custody.
Ordered to keep the elephant but not allowed to use it for work, Khun Jarung could only say: ''Who is going to pay?''