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Top Authorities Join Forces Against Environmental Crime in Costa Rica

ISSN:1089-1560
LADB Article ID: 79950
Category/Department: Costa Rica
Date: 2016-04-14
By: George Rodríguez

Crimes against the environment have much in common with drug trafficking and are, in fact, a variety of organized crime. Local gangs––heavily armed, using sophisticated equipment––are often part of international networks that traffic in natural resources, ranging from expensive varieties of wood to exotic plants and wildlife. In Costa Rica, a country with a tradition of protecting natural resources, wood cut down illegally reaches destinations as distant as India or Morocco. Last month, Costa Rican authorities joined forces to combat these crimes against the environment. An agreement signed Feb. 24 by the highest executive and judiciary officials in the country created a multi-institutional commission to lead the effort, paving the way for the creation of an environmental police force. Edgar Gutiérrez, an expert in environmental issues who heads the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía (Environment and Energy Ministry, MINAE), told NotiCen that the agreement responds, among other issues, to the fact that Costa Rica’s park rangers are outmatched in equipment by environmental criminals, and to the need for better legal instruments to counter illegal activities.

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