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Sep 13, 2021

APAMO Questions Why Only 3 of 6 Illegal Loggers Charged

The Association of Protected Areas Management Organization has issued a release questioning why only some of the men arrested during an illegal logging operation have been charged. APAMO says that on May twelfth, rangers of the Mayflower Bocawina National Park came across a major illegal logging operation run by a group of men within the national park and Sittee Forest Reserve.  They say forty trees had already been felled at the site and were being prepared for extraction.  The men were arrested and charged for the crime.  However, the logs were reportedly not removed. During a joint operation with police on September seventh, six men, including a seventeen-year-old minor, a police corporal, and a former Forest Department employee were caught transporting mahogany logs within the national park. All six men were apprehended, but according to APAMO, only three were charged and taken to court where guilty pleas were heard.  APAMO says it is baffled as to why only three men were charged when evidence is that all six men were seen loading the logs onto the trailer and caught in possession of the logs. The association says neither the Forest Department nor the Belize Police Department contacted them to give a progress report or information regarding the charges being leveled.  The release notes that the problem can only be addressed if there is a “commitment throughout the process from field surveillance to apprehension and proper prosecution.”

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