Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Timber Mafia Caught in Russian Far East

Eight members of an illegal logging gang have been detained in Khabarovsk in Russia’s Far East, for cutting timber worth an estimated 30 million rubles ($939,000), local police said. “The organized criminal group, led by the founder and director general of a large company, were active for a year,” police said. The criminal group, consisting of Armenian and Azerbaijani nationals, supplied the illegally cut timber to China. A local forestry official is suspected of participating in the group’s activities and warning his accomplices about impending inspections. If convicted, the suspects face between 12 and 20 years in jail. Apart from lost revenue to the state, illegal logging destroys the habitat of endangered species like the Amur tiger and affects high-value trees, including the protected Korean cedar, World Wildlife Fund Russia said.

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