Lyon, France - An INTERPOL operation targeting fugitives wanted for environmental crimes is calling on the public worldwide to help locate them and bring them to justice.
Operation Infra (International Fugitive Round Up and Arrest) Terra was launched by the world police body on 6 October, focusing on 139 fugitives wanted by 36 member countries for crimes including illegal fishing, wildlife trafficking, illegal trade and disposal of waste, illegal logging and trading in illicit ivory. It is the first INTERPOL fugitive operation targeting individuals specifically wanted for crimes concerning the environment.
INTERPOL is now asking for the public’s assistance in providing additional information that could help track down nine Infra Terra suspects whose cases were selected during the initial phase of the operation. Such cases include Feisal Mohamed Ali, alleged to be the ringleader of an ivory smuggling ring in Kenya.
Ioannis Kokkinis, Criminal Intelligence Officer with INTERPOL’s Fugitive Investigative Support unit which is coordinating Infra Terra, encouraged the public to share any information with their local or national police or INTERPOL to help track down the fugitives. As highlighted by INTERPOL’s Turn Back Crime global awareness campaign, the most effective way to prevent crime and make the world safer is for police and the public to join forces.
“Even the smallest detail, which you might think is insignificant, has the potential to break a case wide open when combined with other evidence the police already have,” said Mr Kokkinis.
“Sometimes all it takes is a fresh pair of eyes to bring new momentum to an investigation and provide the missing clue which will help locate these wanted individuals, some of whom have been evading justice for years,” he added.
Infra Terra builds on the success of previous similar operations including Infra-Americas, Infra-SEA (Southeast Asia) and the global Infra-Red operations in 2010 and 2012, which have so far led to some 600 arrests and positive locations worldwide.
The initial phase of operation Infra Terra saw investigators from 21 of the participating countries gather at the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France to directly share information on suspects. Details of the wanted persons, their possible locations and any other crucial information were analysed and sent to the countries concerned for further investigation.
“We are pleased that our member countries are coming together through Infra Terra to fight environmental crimes, as well as to raise global awareness of the very real dangers posed by these types of crimes and the individuals who perpetrate them,” said Andreas Andreou, Criminal Intelligence Officer with INTERPOL’s Environmental Security unit.
Support for the operation was offered by partners in the environmental field including the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), the Wildcat Foundation, USAID, the European Commission and the Norwegian Agency for Development Corporation.
The nine fugitives are: Adriano Giacobone; Ahmed Kamran; Ariel Bustamante Sanchez; Ben Simasiku; Bhekumusa Mawillis Shiba; Feisal Mohamed Ali; Nicolaas Antonius Cornelis Maria Duindam; Sergey Darminov; Sudiman Sunoto.
“We believe that the capture of these criminals on the run will contribute to the dismantlement of transnational organized crime groups who have turned environmental exploitation into a professional business with lucrative revenues,” said Stefano Carvelli, Head of INTERPOL’s Fugitive Investigative Support unit.
Information on the possible location of the targets of Operation Infra Terra, or any internationally wanted persons, can be sent to INTERPOL’s Fugitive Investigative Support unit. Information can also be given anonymously to any national Crime Stoppers programme.
Through INTERPOL’s Turn Back Crime campaign, the private sector and the public are encouraged to take an active role in supporting police activities such as Infra Terra to form a global alliance against organized crime.