We lead global and regional law enforcement operations to combat environmental crimes that affect areas such as wildlife, pollution, illegal logging and the theft of natural resources.
What we aim to achieve
Our initiatives provide a coordinated global response to truly international problems. The aims of our operations are to:
- Dismantle the criminal networks behind environmental crime;
- Globally gather information and intelligence, in order to assess trends and patterns in environmental crime;
- Set up multi-disciplinary teams spanning environmental law enforcement agencies, police and customs;
- Strengthen the capacity of environmental law enforcement nationally, regionally and internationally and increase the visibility of the participating agencies;
- Mobilize political support for environmental law enforcement by raising the profile of environmental crimes.
- Operation Paws (Protection of Asian Wildlife Species) II (2015) ̶ this operation seized more than 13 tonnes of pangolin products, representing some 1,000 animals, at an estimated street value exceeding USD 2 million. Paws II sought to enhance communication and intelligence sharing between countries through cyber investigations, DNA analysis, and joint enforcement activities involving police, customs and wildlife agencies.
- Operation Paws (Protection of Asian Wildlife Species) I (2014) ̶ this operation against trafficking in tigers and other big cats resulted in the seizure of hundreds of animals and more than 160 arrests. Involving 13 countries, Operation Paws I also focused on lesser known species also in high demand by the black market, such as bears and pangolins.
- Operation Infra-Terra (2014) ̶ this was the first INTERPOL fugitive operation targeting individuals specifically wanted for crimes concerning the environment, including illegal fishing, wildlife trafficking, illegal trade and disposal of waste, illegal logging and trading in illicit ivory. The operation called on the public worldwide to help locate and bring to justice 139 fugitives wanted by 36 member countries.
- Operation Spindrift (2014) - targeting the illegal transnational trade in abalone, or “sea snails”, through information and intelligence exchange among seven countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the UK and the USA. Participating agencies recommended ways to improve reporting, monitoring and operational procedure.
- Operation Putumayo (2014) - Led by the Peruvian Public Ministry. Targeted illegal logging and illegal mining sites along the borders between Peru, Colombia and Brazil. The resulting seizures are estimated at 20,000 m³ of timber, with a value of around USD 31 million.
- Operation Amazonas (2014) - targeting the criminal groups linked to the illegal timber trade in Peru. The resulting seizures are estimated at more than 15,000 m3 of timber (enough to fill approximately six Olympic-sized swimming pools), with a value of around USD 20.6 million.
- Operation Lead (2013) – targeting illegal logging, forest crimes and the criminal networks behind them. Authorities in Costa Rica and Venezuela confiscated nearly USD 40 million worth of timber - equivalent to 292,000 mᶟ of wood and wood products, or 19,500 truckloads – during follow-up investigations to Operation Lead, Phase I (2012).
- Operation Wildcat (2013) – combating ivory trafficking and illegal logging across Southern and Eastern Africa, and supported by the Wildcat Foundation and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). Operation Wildcat resulted in the seizure of 240 kg of elephant ivory, 856 timber logs, 637 firearms, illicit drugs and 44 vehicles, and the arrest of 660 people.
- Operation Wendi (2013) – combating the trafficking in elephant ivory in West and Central African countries. Nearly 4,000 ivory products and 50 elephant tusks were seized, along with 148 animal parts and derivatives and 88 firearms. Additionally, 222 live animals were released back into the wild.
- Operation Lead (2012) – INTERPOL’s first international operation targeting large-scale illegal logging and forest crimes. Operation Lead resulted in 194 arrests and the seizure of USD 8 million dollars’ worth of timber and some 150 vehicles across Latin America.
- Operation Worthy (2012) – a regionally coordinated wildlife law enforcement operation by 14 member countries in Africa, targeting the illegal trade in elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn. Seizures included nearly two tons of contraband elephant ivory, more than 20 kg of rhinoceros horn, various other wildlife products, and more than 30 illegal firearms.
- Operation Enigma, Phase I (2012) – an international law enforcement operation by eight member countries to combat the illegal trade of electronic waste (or e-waste). The operation resulted in the seizure of more than 240 tons of electronic equipment and electrical goods and the launch of criminal investigations against some 40 companies.
- Operation Prey, Phases II and III (2012) – targeting the illegal trade in Asian big cats and wildlife products. Operation Prey II was conducted in Bangladesh, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, followed by Operation Prey III in Indonesia and Malaysia. Together, these two phases led to the seizure of 40 live tigers and tiger parts, along with pangolins, protected snakes and bushmeat and the arrest of more than a dozen individuals.
- Operation Prey, Phase I (2012) – targeting the illicit trade in Asian big cats and their derivatives. Conducted across Bhutan, China, India and Nepal, Phase I of Operation Prey led to nearly 40 arrests and the seizure of big cat skins, rhino horns, ivory and sea horses, in addition to flora such as protected orchid and cactus plants.
- Operation Libra (2012) – against the illegal poaching and trade in pangolins. The operation involved investigations and enforcement actions across Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam and led to the arrest of more than 40 individuals, with some 200 additional cases currently under investigation across the region.
- Operation Cage (2012) – against the illegal trade and exploitation of birds and their products. More than 8,700 birds and animals, including reptiles, mammals and insects have been seized and nearly 4,000 people arrested in an operation across 32 countries.
- Operation Stocktake (2011) – targeting the illegal trade in endangered species in markets and restaurants in Asia. Four countries participated, arresting 18 individuals and seizing endangered animals, ivory and illegal bushmeat.
- Operation Tigre (2010) – targeting the illegal exploitation of tigers within their natural range. Conducted in six countries, the operation resulted in the arrest of more than 25 individuals.
- Operation Ramp (2010) – against the illegal trade in endangered reptiles and amphibians. This worldwide operation brought together 51 countries across all five continents and led to the seizure of thousands of animals as well as products worth more than EUR 25 million.
- Operation Mogatle (2010) – combating the illegal possession and trade of elephant ivory in six African countries. More than 400 kg of ivory were seized, some 40 people arrested and an illegal factory closed down.
- Operation Tram (2010) – targeting the illegal trade in traditional medicines containing wildlife products. This operation saw the participation of 18 countries and resulted in the seizure of illegal products worth more than EUR 10 million.
- Operation Haz and Haz 2 (2010) – against the illegal transportation of hazardous waste across the border between the USA and Canada. The two phases of this operation (2009 and 2010) resulted collectively in 663 inspections, 201 violations identified and 16 investigations launched.