Brazilian to Serve 70 Years for Extortion; Could get 30 More for Deforestation

A Brazilian court has shortened the prison sentence of a man who established a barricade to extort money from people, reducing it from 100 years to 70 years. However, he still faces legal consequences as one of Brazil's major deforesters and found guilty the length of his sentence could go back to 100.

Brazil RainforestDeforestation in Brazil. (Photo: Polícia Federal de Brazil, License)Chaules Volban Pozzebon, along with his associates, including police officers, formed a paramilitary unit that operated an unauthorized toll collection system at a barricade they erected on a road named after Pozzebon. The road granted access to land parcels in an area referred to as "Soldado da Borracha," where illegal wood extraction occurred.

Pozzebon's unit demanded approximately US$600 from trucks and $1,000 from tractors, while small cars were required to pay up to $10. The barricade was equipped with surveillance cameras and manned by guards equipped with radios.

Following an appellate court's acquittal of some of the extortion charges, Pozzebon's sentence was reduced to 70 years. However, a new legal proceeding awaits him, and if found guilty, he might be sentenced to another 30.

Investigations revealed that Pozzebon also led a criminal organization involved in the illegal sourcing of wood.

Presented by his legal representatives as a prosperous entrepreneur, Pozzebon stands accused of engaging in exploitative practices within the Kaxarari Indigenous Land and surrounding areas.

Allegedly, Pozzebon negotiated the sale of illegally sourced wood with sawmill owners and utilized one of his companies to launder the illegally chopped logs.