Brazilian police launch operation against illegal logging in Amazon

15:59, May 22, 2010      

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Brazilian federal police have arrested 60 suspects across the country in an operation to fight against illegal logging in the Amazon.

The operation was conducted in 91 cities in the states of Mato Grosso, Sao Paulo, Parana, Rio Grande do Sul and Espirito Santo, and aimed at a group formed by loggers, ranchers, foresters and employees at the State Secretariat of Environment (SEMA) in Mato Grosso.

The group was suspected of exploiting forest products in the part of Amazon forest located in the state of Mato Grosso, mainly in the interior and surroundings of indigenous lands and national parks.

Environmental damage caused is estimated at about 900 million reais (480 million dollars).

SEMA employees were suspected of issuing fraudulent licensing and forest management plans, which were necessary for the legalization and trade of extracted timber in public areas.

The detainees will be charged with crimes of conspiracy, active and passive corruption, theft, illegal land appropriation, misrepresentation, false data entry in computer system and several criminal offenses under Brazil's Law of Environmental Crimes.

Source: Xinhua


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