Brazil arrests 8 in Amazon deforestation swoop

29 August 2014

Sao Paulo – Brazilian police said Thursday they had made eight arrests in raids to smash a gang considered the worst perpetrators of deforestation in the Amazon region.

"Eight arrests have been made so far. Police are searching for a further six [suspects] considered to be on the run", a police spokesperson in the Amazonian state of Para told AFP.

The gang would invade public land in northern Para state, burn down forest, divided the land into parcels and sell them, raking in millions of dollars in the process, according to federal police who moved in on the gang on Wednesday.

According to the Brazilian Environmental Institute, the group has carried out environmental crimes valued at $230m, making them "the greatest destroyers of the Brazilian Amazon currently active".

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