Police in Suriname seized timber in 100 containers at Paramaribo Port on April 17th. The timber was presumed to be illegal.

According to an official government statement, the police initiated a transfer of the containers out of the Port so that a comprehensive investigation could be conducted.

Various accounts of the incident have been reported, including claims of corruption and the alleged involvement of officials in the timber’s attempted export. According to Culturu, at least four customs officials were arrested, along with three SBB employees.

The president of Suriname reportedly claimed that the smuggling route had been known about for a decade.

At the time of the latest update, it is unclear whether the investigation will be overseen by the Public Prosecution Service (OM), or the Fraud Department of the Suriname Police Force (KPS), or both.

Approximate location of Suriname seized timber via the Timber Risk Map.
Approximate location of where Suriname seized timber via the Timber Risk Map.
Forested landscape of Suriname
Suriname is one of the most forested countries in the world. Photo: David Evers

Suriname is one of the most forested countries in the world.

As recent as 2015, 94% of Suriname was covered in forest. And in 2020, Suriname committed to maintaining 93% forest cover.

Relative to other countries in the region, reported timber seizures are rare in Suriname.

Regional map of forest law enforcement incidents in northeastern South America.
Regional map of recent forest law enforcement events in northeastern South America. Source: Timber Risk Map

This is a developing story. Last updated May 17, 2021 7:56am EST.

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