The goal of Interpol’s “Operation Infra-Red” is to “locate and arrest serious long-term international fugitives.” That probably brings to mind crimes like mass murder, drug trafficking, and money laundering—not the illegal trade in wildlife.
Think again. By UN estimates, that trade is worth between $70 billion and $213 billion (PDF, p. 4). And that’s why the international police organization is now looking for nine “environmental criminals” charged with crimes ranging from rhino poaching to fishing in national parks.
Earlier this week Interpol released the list of these fugitives, detailing the crimes they are wanted for. The men come from all over the world—there are three Europeans, three Africans, two Asians, and a Latin American—and operate across national borders. Interpol thinks the individuals contribute to “transnational organized crime groups [that] have turned environmental exploitation into a professional business with lucrative revenues,” according to an official release.
Here why these men got on Interpol’s list of most-wanted environmental criminals:
Name: Feisal Mohamed Ali
Wanted by: Kenya
Wanted for: Dealing in wildlife trophies. Ali was found in possession of 314 pieces of ivory weighing more than two tons, and is allegedly the leader of an ivory-smuggling group.
Name: Ariel Bustamante Sanchez
Wanted by: Costa Rica
Wanted for: The captain of a fishing vessel, he allegedly ordered tuna fishing in the protected waters of the Isla del Coco Marine Conservation Area in 2008.
Name: Sergey Darminov
Nationality: Russian, German
Wanted by: Russia
Wanted for: Darminov is suspected of being the leader of a criminal group “BPP,” which from 2006 to 2007 organized illegal crab fishing worth over $450 million.
Name: Nicolaas Antonius Cornelis Maria Duindam
Wanted by: Brazil
Wanted for: Being a member of a criminal organization responsible for trafficking wildlife from Brazil.
Name: Adriano Giacobone
Wanted by: Italy
Wanted for: Giacobone has received prison sentences for the illegal discharge of toxic waste and poisoning water beds occurring from 1984-5 and from 1985-6, and for unlawfully disposing of waste in 1991.
Name: Ahmed Kamran
Wanted by: Tanzania
Wanted for: Coordinating the illegal smuggling of live animals from Tanzania to Qatar by airplane in 2010. Along with three accomplices, Kamran allegedly paid for the transport of live giraffes and impalas to a military plane at the Kilimanjaro International Airport. They were the flown to Qatar; Kamran’s involvement in this final leg is not certain.
Name: Bhekumusa Mawillis Shiba
Nationality: Swazi, South African (not confirmed)
Wanted by: Swaziland
Wanted for: Shiba is suspected of killing a rhinoceros on Hlane Game Reserve in Swaziland and removing its horns.
Name: Ben Simasiku
Wanted by: Botswana
Wanted for: Simasiku and three other suspected illegal ivory traders were arrested for unlawful possession of 17 cut pieces of elephant tusks.
Name: Sudiman Sunoto
Wanted by: Indonesia
Wanted for: In November 2006, the Indonesian Criminal Investigation Department discovered 2,647 logs owned by Sunoto and suspected of being obtained through illegal logging activities. Sunoto was unable to produce any documents to demonstrate that they were obtained legally.