The arrests in Brazil of eleven individuals caught red-handed in the past two weeks signaled the end of impunity for illegal logging in the Amazon, according to te Brazilian government.
On the Brazilian border with Peru, in the Brazilian state of Acre, a region in which there have been reports of this type of activity for at least two decades, Peruvian loggers were caught with chainsaws and arms.
Together with hundreds of logs from Brazilian trees, chiefly mahogany, ready to be transported to sawmills in Peru.
The culprits are being held at Federal Police headquarters in the municipality of Cruzeiro do Sul, and they will answer to four crimes, among them several counts of receiving stolen goods and illegal bearing of weapons.
For the last eight years, spurred by accusations emanating from Indian communities that inhabit the region, members of the Federal Police, the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama), and the Army have been conducting a joint inspection operation in the area.
Part of the illegal logging activity occurred on land belonging to the Ashaninka Indians, and the other part, in the southern section of the Serra do Moa National Park, located in the municipality of Marechal Thaumaturgo.
To catch the loggers in the act, the agents involved in the operation did a meticulous job of planning and monitoring through the use of satellite images, identifying the locations of the loggers’ clandestine camps.
Armed with this information, the agents remained bivouacked for three days in an isolated area of the forest, until the moment of the first arrest, two weeks ago.
Four loggers were apprehended on that occasion, and the information that was obtained enabled a new arrest, on October 10, when seven more loggers were detained.
The Ibama has already announced the construction of an advanced inspection post in the region, near the Ashaninka Indian territory.
The Indians will be trained by the Ibama to assist in the inspection and thus impede the activity of loggers.
Along Brazil’s entire dryland border, which is over 10,800 kilometers long, only 23 advanced inspection posts exist.
Translator: David Silberstein