Brazil’s Minister of Environment, Marina Silva, said she expects a reduction in the deforestation of the Amazon after the arrest of the gang who had been operating there for 14 years, extracting illegal wood in the state of Mato Grosso.
“We want to reduce deforestation in Mato Grosso, one of the largest in the country, which represents 48% of the deforestation in the Amazon,” said Marina Silva.
The scheme had the participation of employees of the National Environment Protection Agency (IBAMA), wood-related business people, and people specialized on the illegal extraction and transportation of wood.
The Operation Curupira, a joint effort by the Federal Police and IBAMA, estimates that the gang has illegally extracted almost 2 million cubic meters of wood.
According to the Minister, this was one of the largest corruption schemes involving government employees in the Amazon.
“These employees have been exonerated, punished, and some have been arrested,” she said.
The Operation Curupira arrested 47 IBAMA employees, as well as businesspeople, and other suspects.
A total of 124 arrest warrants have been issued and approximately 80 arrests have already been made.
When questioned about the international repercussion about the deforestation increase, Marina Silva said that the image of the country will probably improve as the positive results start to show up.