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Environmental Crime

Environmental crimes encompass a wide spectrum of illicit activities, including illegal wood, wildlife trafficking, illegal mining and land grabbing.


Suriname’s Jaguar Trade: From Poaching to Paste

The jaguar’s head slumps over the back of an all-terrain vehicle. A lifeless paw outstretched above a large muddied tire provides a glimpse of its former mass and...

Timber Mafias – Preying on Latin America’s Forests

Illegal logging has become one of Latin America’s most frequent yet under-reported criminal economies. In this investigation, InSight Crime presents its findings...

Peru’s Patrones and Their Patrons

Nearly eight months after the wiretaps were installed, the conversations on the phones suddenly changed. The talk of logging, laundering and shipping illegal wood...

How Drug Cartels Moved into Illegal Logging in Mexico

Chihuahua is Mexico’s biggest state, and more than a fifth of its 25,000 hectares is forested, mostly with pine trees of the type that are harvested in vast...

The Logging Barons of Catacamas, Honduras

Catacamas is the largest municipality in Central America, home to thousands of square kilometers of pristine forest. Political elites in this remote part of...

How Colombia Regulators Became Purveyors of Illegal Wood

In Santander, Colombia, timber traders corrupted regulatory, police and judicial systems on their way to trafficking untold amounts of wood from the...

Yucca Cacti Theft Illuminates Mexico’s Hidden Plant Trafficking Problem

Theft of yucca cacti from indigenous communities in Mexico’s northwestern state of Baja California for export to US, European and Asian markets is reportedly...

Costa Rica Boosts Plan to Track Vessels, Combat Illegal Fishing

By providing satellite data on its fleets, Costa Rica is the latest country in Latin America to take on illegal fishing, which costs...

Economic Hardship During Pandemic Caused Wildlife Trafficking in Brazil to Soar

A series of police operations in Brazil have shown that the poaching of exotic species appears to have exploded during the pandemic, as job losses and a lack of...

Sophisticated Schemes Revealed in Costa Rica Gold Ring

Raids across Costa Rica have exposed a web of front companies filtering illegally mined gold to the United States, in the kind of multimillion-dollar laundering...

Environmental Fines Become Flashpoint for Brazil’s Deforestation Crisis

The abandonment of environmental fines for illegal deforestation in Brazil is leading to a political scandal, with a cabinet minister potentially being removed from...

Venezuela’s Birds Smuggled to Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Beyond

Shocking images of dead birds floating in the Caribbean have exposed a thriving illegal wildlife trade between Venezuela and Trinidad and...