Changing Planet

INTERPOL Asks Public to Help Nab Environmental Crime Fugitives

On November 17, for the first time in its history, INTERPOL asked the public to assist in the capture of environmental crime fugitives. The landmark public appeal falls under INTERPOL’s Operation Infra Terra, launched in October and targeting 139 criminals from 36 nations.

INTERPOL—the International Criminal Police Organization—is the world’s largest international police organization, with 190 member countries.

The nine fugitives are accused of a range of crimes:

  • Italian Adriano Giacobone is wanted for the discharge of toxic waste.
  • Ariel Bustamante Sanchez, from Mexico, is “suspected of organizing illegal fishing in the waters of a national park in Costa Rica.”
  • Zambian Ben Simasiku was arrested for possessing ivory and reportedly then disappearedafter being found with elephant tusks.
  • Bhekumusa Mawillis Shiba (INTERPOL notes he “may be armed”) is accused of poaching a rhino in Swaziland.
  • Kenyan Feisal Mohamed Ali is believed to be the leader of an ivory trafficking ring.
  • Nicolaas Duindam, from the Netherlands, is charged with trafficking wildlife in Brazil.
  • Sergey Darminov organized illegal crab fishing in Russia.
  • Sudiman Sunoto, from Indonesia, is blamed for illegal logging.
  • The last of the nine, Pakistani Ahmed Kamran, is suspected of coordinating the illegal smuggling of live animals—including giraffes and impalas—from Tanzania to Qatar by military plane in 2010.

Read the full story on our daily news page.

Christina Russo is a freelance journalist. For nearly 15 years, she has worked as a producer for a number of public radio programs, including NPR/WBUR’s "On Point" with Tom Ashbrook. Christina also freelances for Yale Environment 360, where her written work focuses mainly on wildlife conservation issues. She is the co-producer, with WBUR, of the nationally syndicated documentary on American zoos, From Cages to Conservation. She has written numerous articles about animals, including a story about caring for donkeys in Ethiopia; a veterinarian saving horses in Sonoma County, CA; an elephant sanctuary in northern Thailand; and the work of pre-eminent whale biologist Roger Payne for her hometown newspaper, The Gloucester Daily Times.
  • Anita Zipprich

    It’s good to see that steps are being taken to bring animal poachers to justice. Elephants are a highly intelligent species and a world treasure. Support for protecting these animals from poaching is vital to their survival. The call for help from INTERPOL is not only expanding the chance that these environmental criminals will be caught, it is also raising awareness about the need to ban all sale of ivory across the globe. To further support this movement please consider donating funds to organization dedicated to protecting elephants.

  • Anita Zipprich

    What are other organizations doing to support the conservation of elephants?

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