Brazil police arrest dozens in illegal Amazon rainforest logging ring
08 Jun 2020

Police stormed a dozen sawmills in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest in a dawn raid on Tuesday, arresting about 30 people accused of involvement in an illegal logging ring.

A criminal group behind those arrested spans a web of loggers, sawmill workers, furniture makers and drivers as well as public officials taking bribes, state police said in a statement.

The sawmills were located near Manaus, the state capital of Amazonas, Brazil’s largest rainforest state.

A Reuters photographer witnessed armed police confiscating industrial saws and truckloads of lumber, totaling more than a thousand cubic meters of wood.

The criminal ring linked to Tuesday’s raids has cut down some 9,000 trees that were each over 100 years old in the span of 10 months, according to police.

Deforestation hit an 11-year high in 2019 and has continued to climb in 2020, rising 55% between January and April as compared to a year ago.

About 99% of deforestation in Brazil last year was illegal, according to deforestation mapping initiative Mapbiomas.

By Bruno Kelly, Reuters, 3 June 2020

Read more at Reuters

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