Wildlife trafficking hit hard by INTERPOL-WCO global enforcement operation

A team of customs and police officers together coordinated global enforcement activities against wildlife trafficking at INTERPOL’s Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore.

From 4 – 30 June, INTERPOL and the World Customs Organization (WCO) coordinated Operation Thunderball, with police and customs administrations leading joint enforcement operations against wildlife and timber crime across 109 countries.

The joint worldwide customs and police operation has resulted in the seizure of large quantities of protected flora and fauna across every continent.

The intelligence-led operation identified wildlife trafficking routes and crime hotspots ahead of time.

This had enabled border, police and environmental officers to seize protected wildlife products ranging from live big cats and primates to timber, marine wildlife and derived merchandise such as clothing, beauty products, food items, traditional medicines and handicrafts.

Initial results have led to the identification of almost 600 suspects, triggering arrests worldwide.

Further arrests and prosecutions are anticipated as ongoing global investigations progress.

Wildlife crime is rife, global, on the increase, and closely linked to organized crime.

“Wildlife crime not only strips our environment of its resources, it also has an impact through the associated violence, money laundering and fraud,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock.

“Operations like Thunderball are concrete actions targeting the transnational crime networks profiting from these illicit activities.

“We will continue our efforts with our partners to ensure that there are consequences for criminals who steal from our environment.”

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