The Forest Department, along with police and military personnel, made a substantial rosewood bust last night in the vicinity of Boom Creek Village, Toledo. As a result of the operation, the officials confiscated more than 2,000 board feet of the prized hardwood, valued at US$26 a square foot on the world market.
Indications are that although this find is valued only about BZ$100,000, it points to a much larger illegal operation in the south – despite a moratorium on rosewood harvesting declared by Forestry Minister Lisel Alamilla 9 months ago.
The find confirms that a substantial amount of rosewood is still being extracted from Toledo, and with the prime market being China, questions are now being raised as to whether such a substantial export of rosewood could be sustained without inside help or collusion.
According to Wil Maheia of PGTV, the Forest Department confirmed the bust today, noting that it was the result of a joint operation, but no arrests have been made since no one was found in the area when the bust occurred last night.
Amandala tried to reach Forest Department officials this afternoon for comment, but they were unavailable.
Maheia said that the exporters may have been trying to get the rosewood to either the Commercial Free Zone in Corozal or to the Belize City port, but he also indicated the possibility of the wood being trucked through the Belize-Guatemala border, near Jalacte.
(Photos courtesy PGTV)