Interpol cracks down on environmental crime

Interpol, the world’s police organisation, has captured two suspects on its most wanted list of environmental fugitives. Operation Infra (International Fugitive Round Up and Arrest) Terra was launched on 6 October 2014.

The two suspects were both arrested in December, only two months after the list of environmental criminals was first released. Ben Simasiku was arrested in Zambia on charges of possessing ivory from Botswana, while Feisal Ali, a Kenyan national suspected of leading an international smuggling syndicate, was arrested in Tanzania, reports care2.

Both men were highlighted in a public appeal for information issued by Interpol in November.

Operation Infra Terra brings together investigators from 21 participating countries to directly share information on more than 130 suspects wanted by 36 countries for crimes including illegal fishing, wildlife trafficking, illegal trade and disposal of waste, illegal logging and trading in illicit ivory.

The initial most wanted list of suspected environmental criminals consists of nine men. In addition to Simasiku and Ali, they are: Adriano Giacobone (Italian), Ahmed Kamran (Pakistani), Ariel Bustamante Sanchez (Mexican), Bhekumusa Mawillis Shiba (Swazi/South African), Nicolaas Duindam (Netherlands), Sergey Darminov (Russian/German), and Sudiman Sunoto (Indonesia).

Interpol defines environmental crime into two categories: wildlife crime is the illegal exploitation of the world’s wild flora and fauna, while pollution crime is the trading and disposal of hazardous wastes or resources in contravention of national and international laws. Calling environmental crime a serious and growing international problem, Interpol also identifies carbon trade and water management crimes as new and emerging types of environmental crimes.

According to Interpol, wildlife and pollution crime is often carried out by organised criminal networks and occurs hand in hand with other offences, such as passport fraud, corruption, money laundering and murder.


Photo credit: Interpol

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