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Rosewood Confiscated in the West and South

Miguel Angel Estala has been charged with unlawful possession of forest produce. On December 7, 2016, personnel from the Forest Department confiscated a total of thirty one thousand board feet of rosewood in flitch and lumber form in the Benque Viejo area. Estala appeared in the San Ignacio Magistrate Court today and pleaded guilty to the charge and was charged the maximum fine of one thousand dollars. The rosewood material was forfeited to the Government of Belize. The Forest Department also conducted an operation in the Gomez Estate in the Toledo District and found approximately one thousand board feet of rosewood along with two thousand five hundred board feet of Santa Maria lumber. All the confiscated material is housed at the Forest Department. The Ministry of Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development says it recognizes that perpetrators face a relatively minor penalty for forest crimes and so they have embarked on an exercise to revise penalties and fines for forest crimes. It is expected that the necessary amendments to the Forest Act will be introduced at the next sitting of the House of Representatives.