HomeNewsBriefSeizures Point to Timber Trafficking Ring in Guatemala
BRIEF

Seizures Point to Timber Trafficking Ring in Guatemala

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME / 20 FEB 2012 BY EDWARD FOX EN

Recent seizures of illegally trafficked timber in Guatemala suggests there is an organized smuggling ring sophisticated enough to transport the wood in large quantities, Prensa Libre reports.

According to the newspaper, Guatemalan authorities seized three shipping containers between November and December last year, each containing 58.28 cubic meters of Dalbergia species, commonly referred to as "rosul" wood. The shipments were set to depart from one of Guatemala's most important ports, Santo Tomas de Castilla. A further 3.5 cubic meters of the illegally logged wood was seized in national parks across the country.

The tree species, protected under the terms of an international environmetal trafficking treaty, is highly demanded in China, which fuels the smuggling trade.

The investigation into these recent seizures suggests that members of the police and government environmental agencies are involved in the trafficking ring, according to the Prensa Libre report.

InSight Crime Analysis

Illegal logging can take two forms: local people using the wood for subsistence, or organized groups running large smuggling operations. The size of these recent seizures in Guatemala point to the latter. The alleged involvement of police or government officials also suggests a more sophisticated operation. The trafficking of protected species often relies on the same smuggling routes used to transport drugs. And similarly to the drug trade, in order to move large cargoes of product, police and environmental officials need to be bribed to look the other way.

Last year Guatemala announced a crackdown on eco-trafficking, stating they would enforce stricter security measures at airports. But the initiative left the country's sea ports off the list of priorities, arguably a serious omission.

Eco-trafficking is a lucrative trade across the Americas. Last year Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced that his government would wage a "crusade" against timber trafficking due to its links to organized crime. Similarly, Nicaragua recently created the world's first "eco-battalion," a military unit that will focus solely on protecting the country's natural resources.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 19 MAR 2014

Former Guatemala President Alfonso Portillo has pleaded guilty to charges of accepting bribes and money laundering before a New York…

GUATEMALA / 8 SEP 2011

Guatemala’s election authority ordered the Partido Patriota, whose presidential candidate is leading the polls, to stop campaign spending before the…

BRAZIL / 31 DEC 2015

Welcome to InSight Crime's Game Changers 2015, where we highlight the year's most important trends in organized crime in Latin…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution Met With Uproar

6 MAY 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime launched its latest investigation, Venezuela’s Cocaine Revolution¸ accompanied by a virtual panel on its findings. The takeaways from this three-year effort, including the fact that Venezuela…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…