International — 02 October 2012 — by Aaron Humes

Jailed for a year on lesser charges, but no charges laid yet for illegal logging

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Oct. 1, 2012

A Guatemalan of Peten, Guatemala, is tonight in jail, but not for the offense which joint security forces personnel say they caught him red-handed trying to do – cut down the National Tree, mahogany, in an archaeological reserve.

Edgar Rene Amador Jenis, 38, of La Calzada Mopan, Dolores, Peten, appeared this morning in San Ignacio Magistrate’s Court charged with drug possession for 4.5 grams of marijuana and illegal entry into the country by the Department of Immigration. He was issued a fine by the presiding magistrate, but was unable to pay and was sent to jail for a year.

This evening, FCD chair Rafael Manzanero registered to Amandala the organization’s “deep concern” that charges of illegal logging in a protected area and entry of an animal without proper documentation is apparently yet to be lodged by the Forestry Department. Our checks this evening with San Ignacio police were fruitless, as their senior personnel had left the office when we called.

According to the watchdog group, personnel based at Tapir Camp in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve caught the two men late Saturday night trying to cut down a mahogany tree with a New West Stihl chainsaw.

The men took to their heels, but the security officials caught one of them, identified as Jenis, around 1:00 a.m. Sunday. They recovered six flitches of wood that had already been cut and two horses.

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