Federal police in the Amazonas launched an operation on Thursday (25) to disassemble an illegal logging corruption scheme involving government workers, engineers, businessmen and lumber companies.
The police had 23 orders for preventive prison, six for temporary prison and more than 109 search warrants to exercise in the states of Amazonas, Acre, Paraná, Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais, Rondônia, Roraima, São Paulo, as well as the Federal District.
The operation, baptized “Arquemedes,” also blocked R$ 50 million of the companies under investigation and issued 18 precautionary measures.
José Leland Barroso, the ex-superintendent of the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), was among those arrested.
On social media, the minister of the environment, Ricardo Salles, said: “He is only an ex-superintendent because I fired him… if it was still the old regime, he would still be there today.”
Leland Barroso authored a letter to Jair Bolsonaro at the end of 2018 that criticized the politics of IBAMA and affirmed that the agency had an ideology associated with the PT and PSOL parties, which defended the interests of NGO’s—a discourse similar to that of Salles.
Barroso and the other authors also requested that management be removed and that the organization be restructured. They criticized the “current biased model of environmental oversight,” asking for the end of “fine for fine,” and the destruction of seized property.
Translated by Kiratiana Freelon