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24 December 2014

Tanzanian police hold suspected Kenyan ivory smuggling ring leader targeted in INTERPOL operation

LYON, France – A Kenyan national suspected of leading an international ivory smuggling syndicate has been arrested in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania after he was targeted by an INTERPOL operation focusing on individuals wanted for environmental crimes.
 
Feisal Ali was highlighted by INTERPOL’s Operation Infra Terra (International Fugitive Round Up and Arrest) and featured in a worldwide INTERPOL public appeal for information in November. He is the second high-profile suspect to be arrested as part of Operation Infra Terra after Ben Simasiku was arrested in Zambia earlier this month.
 
Ali was the subject of an INTERPOL Red Notice for internationally wanted persons issued at the request of Kenyan authorities who suspect him of being behind an international ivory smuggling ring. In June authorities in Mombasa allegedly found him in possession of 314 pieces of ivory weighing more than 2.1 tonnes, including 228 complete elephant tusks.
 
Launched on 6 October, INTERPOL’s Operation Infra Terra gathered investigators from 21 of the participating countries at INTERPOL’s General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon to directly share information on more than 130 suspects wanted by 36 countries for crimes including illegal fishing, wildlife trafficking, illegal trade and disposal of waste, illegal logging and trading in illicit ivory.
 
Details of the wanted persons, their suspected locations and any other potentially identifying information were collated and analyzed, before being sent to participating countries for further action.
 
During the operation, with the support of INTERPOL’s Fugitive Investigative Support (FIS) unit, investigators from Kenya and Tanzania exchanged information on Ali and his suspected location in Dar Es Salaam, via INTERPOL’s global tools, its National Central Bureaus (NCBs) in Dar Es Salaam and Nairobi as well as the Kenya Wildlife Service.
 
“This operation highlights the benefits of INTERPOL working collectively with member countries and partners to disrupt serious organized crime relating to our iconic endangered wildlife. This and other such initiatives are very important areas of focus for the Organization,” said Glyn Lewis, INTERPOL's Director of Specialized Crime and Analysis.
 
The Head of INTERPOL’s FIS unit, Stefano Carvelli, said: “Through actions such as Operation Infra Terra, INTERPOL and its member countries want to underline the serious nature of crimes against wildlife and the environment. This arrest once again demonstrates that fugitives will be sought, located and arrested to face justice, regardless of the crime they have committed.”
 
“INTERPOL therefore congratulates its NCBs in Dar Es Salaam and Nairobi, as well as the Kenya Wildlife Service, for their role in the location and arrest of Feisal Ali. We also encourage the public to remain vigilant to assist police worldwide in locating and arresting the remaining fugitives wanted as part of Operation Infra Terra,” added Mr Carvelli.
 
Feisal Ali now awaits repatriation to Kenya to stand trial for the offences he is charged with.