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07 August 2015

INTERPOL hosts meetings on forestry and fisheries crime in Central and South America

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – INTERPOL recently conducted two Regional Investigative and Analytical Case Meetings on fisheries and forestry crime for law enforcement officers across Central and South America.

The three-day meetings (20-22 July) were held at the INTERPOL Regional Bureau for South America in Buenos Aires.

The meeting focusing on fisheries crime was attended by representatives from police, INTERPOL National Central Bureaus (NCBs), Coast Guard, fisheries, maritime and customs agencies from eight countries: Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama and Peru.

Participants discussed issues related to transnational investigations of fisheries crime, including illegal smuggling of protected species and the identification of vessels suspected of conducting illegal fishing.

Some 35 participants from 12 countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay and Peru) attended the forestry crime meeting, which marked six months since the countries had started collaborating on a regional initiative targeting the illicit trade of timber sourced in the region destined for markets in the US, Asia and Europe.

During the meeting, representatives from police and forestry authorities discussed transnational cases and ongoing investigations, and exchanged information on modus operandi used by individuals and companies operating in the region and the routes of the illegal timber trade. Participants were given practical examples of how to use INTERPOL’s tools, such as notices, to combat forestry crime.

Opening the meetings, General Director of the International and Regional Security Cooperation Unit from the Argentina Ministry of Public Security, Diego Llumá, said Latin America is a region rich in biodiversity and therefore needs a coordinated strategy to adequately address environmental crime.

The forestry meeting was supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and by the US Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. The fisheries meeting was funded by the US Department of State and the European Commission under the umbrella of the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC).