Five people were arrested on charges of illegal extraction of sand from a creek in Thane district, police said on Sunday.
Acting on a tip-off, a team of police and revenue officials conducted a raid at the creek in Kasheli area here on Saturday night and nabbed five persons for allegedly indulging in illegal dredging of sand, a senior police official said.
Three other accused escaped by swimming in the waters, he said.
The accused were charged under Indian Penal Code Sections 379 (theft), 439 (intentionally running vessel aground or ashore with intent to commit theft) and 34 (common intention), and provisions of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966, the official said.
The raiding team destroyed seven barges and as many suction pumps used for the illegal dredging of sand.
Search was underway for the other accused, including owners of the barges and suction pumps, the official said.