NewsWildlife Trafficking

The Spanish Civil Guard has investigated 5,752 crimes against the environment in 2021, in latest released figures

The Nature Protection Service of the Civil Guard presents its annual balance of actions on World Earth Day. This last year has increased the investigation of crimes against the environment, highlighting the crimes of animal abuse and abandonment, crimes of forest fires and crimes of illegal extraction of water. Close to 85% of the crimes have been clarified and citizen collaboration has been fundamental for the resolution of the cases.

Criminal offenses

This year the number of known crimes amounts to more than 5,700, which has led to the arrest or investigation of 4,509 people. The criminal typologies that have increased the most this year are those related to the mistreatment of domestic animals, quantifying up to 957 crimes and the arrest of 552 people for these acts. The number of forest fires has increased to 483 crimes and so have arrests for these events, up to 374 people arrested and investigated for burning our natural environment.

Administrative offenses

Administrative infractions in the regulations on discharges and waste stand out with 19,313 complaints, actions related to pets with 11,344, animal health with 9,451 and actions related to water with 5,326 actions.

Public health and sanitary measures by Covid19

The SEPRONA of the Civil Guard continues to reinforce the control in the management of hazardous sanitary waste and its consequences. This year the administrative infractions detected in relation to public health and medicines continue to rise, raising the number of actions to 163,373.

The individual mismanagement of used gloves and masks is increasing the presence of plastic waste in rivers and seas, a problem whose environmental impact was already being tried to reduce given the pollution and damage it causes to these ecosystems.

Waste traffic and pollution

  • Operation “Pindaan”, the Civil Guard dismantled an organization dedicated to the illegal transport of plastic waste to Asia. 27 people have been investigated as being responsible for shipments of illicit waste to Southeast Asia. SEPRONA determined that more than 16,000 tons of plastic waste had been moved. The illicit plastic trade would have generated profits of more than 15 million since 2018.
  • Operation “Vetitigas”, The Alicante Section of SEPRONA seized a total of 673.3 kg of illegal fluorinated gases in the town of Murcia. So far, a total of 4 people who trafficked with these illegal gases through an online sales portal have been investigated. As a result of the investigation, more than 1,071 sales of this type of gas have been verified, which would reach an approximate market value of €894,448.

Animal abuse

  • Operation “Cairless”, the Murcia SEPRONA dismantled an illegal cockfighting tent. four people were arrested, 31 roosters with serious injuries were located, money for illegal bets and veterinary medicines were found.
  • Operation “Taciturno”, a clandestine dog kennel was located by the SEPRONA of Granada where the vocal cords of the animals were cut. More than 500 dogs of different breeds were involved in the operation. The alleged perpetrators were charged with up to 31 crimes

Flora and fauna

  • Operation “Hoyuela”, among the different actions against poaching, the SEPRONA of Ávila arrested and investigated twelve people responsible for crimes against flora, fauna and domestic animals and illegal possession of weapons. The operation began when 17 specimens of the male ibex (Capra Pyrenaica) were found killed.
  • Operation “Askea 2”, the Civil Guard, within the framework of the ASKEA-LAKE operation, has arrested and investigated 27 people and has seized up to 320 kilos of eel with a market value that could reach up to 650,000 euros. It is the first time that one of the detainees has been imprisoned for trafficking eels.

Agri-food safety and public health

  • Operation “Berto”, the Civil Guard arrested in Albacete five members of a criminal organization dedicated to the distribution of veterinary medicines subject to medical prescription, regardless of any clinical criteria. In addition, 19 people were investigated for crimes against public health, false documents and professional intrusion.
  • Operation “Costmapa”, agents of the Nature Protection Service of the Civil Guard of Madrid have arrested three people in the operation and investigated five more for crimes related to public health related to the market and consumers, forgery of documents, fraud and crime against industrial property, having facilitated the introduction of hams and shoulders to the market, simulating that they were Iberian.
  • Operation “Garden”, the Civil Guard dismantled a criminal group dedicated to the commercialization of supposed saffron that turned out to be molecularly modified gardenia. During the operation, 11 people have been arrested and investigated with the involvement of 3 companies.
  • Agri-food fraud has accounted for more than 3,000,000 euros of illicit profit. They imported from China, gardenia extract that they passed off as saffron.

International collaboration

The SEPRONA of the Civil Guard has developed different collaborations with international police organizations such as EUROPOL or INTERPOL, for the development of international operations. Likewise, it carries out joint operations with European police forces such as the Portuguese GNR, the French GNF, the Italian Carabinieri Corps and with third countries such as the Moroccan GRM, the Colombian National Police, among others.