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Interpol Has Arrested One of Its Most Wanted Environmental Fugitives

A sting operation coordinated by police and Interpol led to the capture of Feisal Mohamed Ali, a Kenyan businessman accused of running an international poaching ring.
December 23, 2014, 6:05pm
Photo via Interpol

A Kenyan businessman suspected of running a global ivory poaching ring and who was also one of Interpol's most wanted environmental fugitives was arrested by police in Tanzania on Monday.

Police in Dar es Salaam arrested Feisal Mohamed Ali under an Interpol warrant as part of an initiative announced by the global police organization in November to target perpetrators of environmental crimes. More specifically, Monday's efforts were part of the agency's focus on breaking up syndicates that hunt animals such as rhinos and elephants for the ivory in their tusk.

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According to officials, local police and Interpol orchestrated the fugitive's arrest in a "sting operation," the Guardian reported.

"The businessman is cooperating with the police to establish if he is involved in the alleged criminal activities," Interpol's head in Tanzania Gustav Babile told Reuters, adding that the investigation was ongoing.

Poaching and civil war aren't the only threats to Africa's dwindling population of mountain gorillas. Read more here.

Wanted in the Kenyan city of Mombasa, Ali could face charges for "dealing and possession of elephant tusks," according to Kenyan officials. The charges stem from an incident in which a haul of elephant tusks — weighing in at over 2 tons — was confiscated in June in the coastal port city. Two of his alleged partners were detained during the seizure, but Ali managed to evade police custody.

Monday's bust follows the arrest of another member of the most wanted list, which initially contained nine alleged environmental criminals when it was published in November. In early December, Interpol nabbed Ben Simasiku, a Zambian man suspected of trafficking ivory who had previously evaded capture after a shootout with officials at Chobe National Park in Botswana.

Other members on the police agency's list of most wanted environmental fugitives have been convicted of a variety of offenses including illegal fishing, wildlife trafficking, illegal toxic waste dumping, logging without permits, and trade in illicit ivory. The list includes Adriano Giacobone, an Italian wanted for illegally transporting and dumping toxic waste, and Sudiman Sunoto, wanted in Indonesia for illegal logging.

The Interpol operation responsible for putting out the list, known as the International Fugitive Round Up and Arrest (Infra) Terra, was launched in October and beyond the top nine alleged criminals, has its eye on another 139 fugitives wanted in 36 countries.

These are the most wanted environmental fugitives in the world. Read more here.

Follow Kayla Ruble on Twitter: @RubleKB