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21 November 2014

INTERPOL holds training courses to tackle forest crime in South America

LIMA, Peru – INTERPOL has held a series of training courses in South America to assist law enforcement in the region in effectively tackling a range of forest crimes.

Some 29 participants from law enforcement across 13 countries in Central and South America gathered in Lima for a five-day (17-21 November) training course aimed at developing and improving investigative skills to combat forest crime. The course was supported by the INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) in Lima and conducted under the auspices of INTERPOL’s Project Leaf, an initiative against illegal logging and related crimes.

“The training provided a unique forum for police officers from almost all countries in Central and South America to share successes and challenges in investigating illegal logging and forest crime in the region, also providing them with INTERPOL tools to improve operation planning,” said the Head of NCB Lima, Luis Octavio Bisso Pun. 

He added that: “INTERPOL Lima is commited to fight against illegal logging to offer a better world for future generations.”

A previous training course was held from 10-14 November in Manaus, Brazil, which focused on identifying illegal timber and promoting the exchange of knowledge and best practices among the 14 participating countries in the region. Organized by INTERPOL, the Brazilian Federal Police, the Brazilian Customs Agency, and the National Institute of Amazonian Research, during the training session the 35 participants also took part in practical hands-on enforcement exercises.

“The course promoted a great exchange of experiences and expertise on the procedures in each participating country regarding the international trade in tropical timber. It also provided capacity building to the law enforcement officials on how to identify tropical timber, as well as the most common offences involving the most commercialized Amazonian woods internationally,” said Renato Madsen Arruda, Deputy chief of the Environmental Crimes Unit of the Brazilian Federal Police.

“An event of this magnitude allows us to discuss the best techniques for preventing and combating environmental crimes, and also highlights INTERPOL’s role in supporting police in the fight against the transnational organized criminal networks involved,” he concluded.

The training sessions were conducted with the support of the US Department of State and the Norwegian Agency for Development Corporation.

Evidence has revealed that environmental crimes, including wildlife trafficking and forest crimes, are often conducted by transnational criminal networks. To this end, INTERPOL will continue to support its member countries through its programmes to combat cross-border environmental crime.

Additionally, INTERPOL will be supporting  a regional law enforcement operation aimed at tackling the illegal exploitation and trade of timber sourced from Central and South America in 2015.

In an effort to locate fugitives wanted for environmental crimes, INTERPOL recently launched Operation Infra Terra, focusing on 139 individuals wanted by 36 member countries for crimes including illegal fishing, wildlife trafficking, illegal trade and disposal of waste, illegal logging and trading in illicit ivory. INTERPOL is asking for the public’s assistance in providing additional information that could help track down nine of those fugitives.