Organized Crime Goes Green

corleone family photo

TreeHugger has covered resource theft before, but now organized criminals in Canada are turning to environmental crime, according to a new report from Criminal Intelligence Service Canada. "Criminal networks can profit by collecting e-waste in developed countries such as Canada and selling it to 'recyclers' in developing nations," the service reports. According to Jonathan Montpetit of the Canadian Press,

The report does not put a dollar figure on illegal trafficking and disposal of computers, televisions and cellphones but warns such activity will peak, starting next year, as digital broadcast norms take effect in Canada and the United States, making millions of TVs obsolete.

"One of the reasons organized crime has been as successful as it is, is that they're (leaders are) very adaptable and it's not like they've given up any of their traditional markets," said RCMP Commissioner William Elliott, who chairs the intelligence service.

bear carcasses photo

Bear carcasses with paws and gall bladders removed
Organized Crime Also Going After Endangered Animals

The report also notes that rare animals are also in demand. "Illegal trade in wildlife can be as profitable as dealing in narcotics," said a UN report. According to a paper by Duc Nguyen of the University of California, a bowl of bear paw soup can fetch $ 1,000 in Korea and a bear's gall bladder can command $ 10,000, about 20 times the street price of cocaine.

They are even after lumber: "Canadian forests are vulnerable to illegal harvesting due to their relative abundance, isolation, and the large number of logging access roads." ::The Star
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