Guardians of the Biome weakens environmental crimes in the Yanomami Indigenous LandGuardians of the Biome weakens environmental crimes in the Yanomami Indigenous Land

23.9 tons of ore were seized in operation coordinated by the Ministry of Justice

The operation Guardians of the Biome – Indigenous Lands acted, between July 5 and August 7, to combat illegal mining and environmental crimes in the Yanomami Indigenous Land, in Roraima. With the participation of 12 federal institutions, the result was the decapitalization of criminal organizations and the impact on the logistics of the offenders’ activities, the withdrawal of non-indigenous people, the preservation of the biome, and the well-being and health of the indigenous people. The operation was coordinated by the Ministry of Justice and Public Safety, through the Integrated Operations Secretariat (Seopi).


The indicators show that 23.9 tons of minerals (cassiterite, gold and mercury) were seized; 36 aircrafts seized, destroyed or interdicted; 15.6 thousand liters of fuel seized and/or destroyed; 25 people arrested; 119 rounds of ammunition seized and/or destroyed; 115 notices of violation issued, among other indicators. There were also 712 health consultations with the indigenous population.

The multi-agency operation also included the inspection of airfields, landing strips, airports, supply points and aircrafts; river and road blockades; monitoring of hectares; destruction of engines, generators and conveyor belts, in addition to administrative measures. For lack of authorization, three tanks with a capacity for 15 thousand liters (empty) were interdicted and seven people had their flying permits suspended.

Multi-agency action

These results were only possible because of the integrated action of the National Civil Aviation Agency (Anac), the National Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels Agency (ANP), the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel), the Brazilian Army (EB), the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), the National Public Security Force (FNSP) the National Indian Foundation (Funai), the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama), the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), the Federal Police (PF), the Federal Highway Police (PRF) and the Special Indigenous Health Secretariat (Sesai).

Indicators 2021

The repressive actions in the Yanomami Indigenous Land during the first phase of Operation 2021 resulted in the seizure of 89 aircraft and one rotary-wing aircraft; ten outboard motors; 17 vehicles; two generators; nine weapons; 17.8 thousand liters of fuel; 29.8 thousand kg of ore; 850 ammunition; nine boats, among others.

There were also 182 aircraft, 87 landing strips and 135 resale stations; interdiction of 22 gas stations and 14 aircraft; 4 tractors, 10 rafts, 91 engines, 11 vehicles, 22 aircraft and 88.5 thousand liters of fuel were rendered useless; 15 aircraft were suspended and 34 violation notices were issued.

Fighting crime

According to the Operations Secretary of the Integrated Operations Secretariat (Seopi/Ministry of Justice and Public Safety), Alfredo Carrijo, the drop in some 2022 indicators is a reflection of the weakening of environmental crimes in the Yanomami Indigenous Land, which occurred during the first edition of the operation in 2021. There were 30 days of operation to preserve the indigenous land and prevent the invasion of criminals.

Last year, 90 aircraft were seized and 22 destroyed. According to the secretary, this had a direct impact on the actions of criminals because air transport is the main means of logistics for illicit activities such as mining. And the replacement of these aircraft is not so simple. Also according to Carrijo, the trend is for the indicators to decrease every year until there are no more seizures and/or destruction of vehicles, fuel or machinery, as happened in 2022 with the seizure/destruction of 36 aircraft.

The monitoring of illegal mining and environmental crimes in the region is permanent and takes place all year round. Once the criminal actions are identified, the Ministry of Justice and Public Safety brings together several federal institutions to compose the Operation Biome Guardians so that they can act within their attributions, suffocating the logistics of the criminal organizations.

PORTAL DO GOVERNO DO BRASIL *** Translated by the DEFCONPress Team ***

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