Illegal tree felling discovered in Latvian border zone

Take note – story published 4 years and 3 months ago

On February 15 border guards in the Krāslava area found illegally cut trees in the border zone, according to the State Border Guard on February 18.

While conducting a routine inspection of the border and the surrounding territory, border guards found tractor tire tracks and several felled trees. It was established coordinated tree felling took place the day before on the adjacent territory, but the company’s employees admitted that they had also driven the tractor through the state border area without proper coordination, as well as cut trees in the state border area due to the uneven terrain.

As there are signs that the tractor driver’s actions violated the first part of Section 109 of The Criminal Law (“For a person who commits arbitrary cutting trees in a forest of another person or other parcel of land of another person”), the State Border Guard has turned to the State Police based on the first part of Section 387 of the Criminal Procedure Law with a request to investigate this event and make a decision regarding beginning criminal proceedings.

As previously reported, the State Audit Office reported that more than 7 million euros were spent illegally during construction in the eastern border area with Russia. The Law on Forests was also violated by cutting down large areas of forest and causing damage to protected objects. It’s not known what happened to the trees that were cut down.

Also reported in 2018, the Internal Security Bureau detained two employees of road construction company Celu Buvniecibas Sabiedriba Igate (Igate) along with the former State Border Guard Chief Normunds Garbars. The detainees were two Igate employees involved in a border infrastructure development project.

The Internal Security Bureau said it had detained deputy head of the Border Guard's Armaments, Logistics and Technical Resources Department who formerly was the Border Guard's chief, as well as two representatives of a road construction company on suspicion of financial fraud and violations committed during infrastructure development at Latvian-Russian and Latvian-Belarusian border. One more Border Guard official has been charged in the criminal case, the Internal Security Bureau said.

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