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Justice Department Sends Teams to Mozambique and Ghana to Train Local Leaders on Timber Trafficking Reduction Efforts

Timber trafficking hurts wildlife, the environment and people; it negatively impacts U.S. markets and the global economy; and it has been used to fund illicit activities and terrorism. Investigating and prosecuting illegal timber harvesting crimes is a priority of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD). That’s why the Division created the TIMBER Enforcement Working Group and why Division personnel travel around the world to work with prosecutors and law enforcement officials on enforcement and collaboration.

Last month, personnel from ENRD traveled with law enforcement officers from the U.S. Forest Service and other officials to Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique to help conduct a workshop with local leaders on combatting timber trafficking. Participants included approximately 25 government officials including customs officers, forest rangers, national police, magistrates and prosecutors. This workshop built on prior training and included input from experts from Mozambique and around the world.

A Justice Department attorney gives a speech from behind a podium and in front of a timber trafficking poster
Credit ENRD.
ENRD’s Elinor Colbourn addresses a workshop in Mozambique on logging trafficking.

ENRD prosecutors were also in Ghana to lead a “Combatting Forestry Crimes and Illegal Logging” course at the International Law Enforcement Academy’s (ILEA) regional training center in Accra. Along with law enforcement officers from the U.S. Forest Service, ENRD attorneys discussed law enforcement techniques and prosecution strategies with police, prosecutors and judges from Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.

Two Justice Department personnel stand in front of flags from African nations
Credit ENRD.
ENRD’s Ryan Connors and Leigh Rende led an illegal timber trafficking training in Ghana for law enforcement.
Updated January 8, 2024