Venezuela: Interpol Seizes Illegal Timber

In a follow-up to a 2012 investigation of illegal logging, Interpol has seized $40 million worth of illegally harvested timber in Latin America, mostly from Venezuela, reports InSight Crime.

Interpol’s Operation Lead resulted in nearly 200 arrests and the seizure of $8 million worth of timber. It was the first international scale operation to focus on Latin America’s criminal activity in timber. Enforcement agencies from 12 countries participated.

Costa Rican and Venezuelan authorities also worked with Interpol, resulting in an even bigger seizure of illegal wood. About 19,500 truckloads of timber were intercepted at sawmills, logging sites, and transportation routes, according to Interpol.

In addition to intercepting the illicit timber trafficking, Venezuelan authorities have worked toward reforesting some 8,000 hectares of land damaged by illegal logging. Programs have also been developed with the aim of educating about illegal trade in Latin America.