40 arrested in illegal timber raid in the Brazilian Amazon
May 29, 2008
Brazilian federal police arrested at least 40 members of an illegal logging operation in an Amazon Indian reserve in the state of Mato Grosso, reports Reuters.
Loggers, local law enforcement officers, and farmers were among those arrested. The operation logged the equivalent of more than 30,000 hectares rainforest in the Vale do Guapore Indian reserve. Indian representatives were bribed with gifts such as cars, motorcycles and chain saws, according to Reuters.
Federal authorities in Brazil have launched a major crackdown — dubbed Operation Arc of Fire — on illegal logging since the release of satellite data in January that showed a marked increase in Amazon deforestation since August 2007. High commodity prices are blamed for fueling the up tick in forest clearing.
Since February Operation Arc of Fire has issued more than $30 million in fines.