The IACP Chief David Cameron Leadership in Environmental Crimes Award recognizes excellence in environmental crimes enforcement and education by law enforcement officers and their agencies.
The award honors David Cameron, Chief of Police in Jackson, Wyoming, from 1992 until his untimely death in April 2001. Through his professionalism, dedication, and personality, Dave Cameron positively affected law enforcement worldwide while serving as chairman of the IACP Environmental Crimes Committee from 1992 to 2001 and member of the IACP Executive Committee from 1992 to 2001.
2017 Winner – Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
This issue of illegal logging and the related criminal activities are widespread and global in nature. Illegal logging is the world’s most lucrative environmental crime, according to the United Nations, inflicting at least $50 billion a year in economic damage.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Houston, Trade Environmental Group’s investigative efforts and work in combatting illegally harvested Peruvian timber have been significant for several reasons. They caused logging in parts of Peru to virtually cease for 15 months. They also exposed fraudulent claims for export subsidies in Peru and resulted in the Peruvian government preventing a payment of over $7 million to an affiliated company. The United States Trade Representative (USTR) used the enforcement action by HSI as the basis to request the first ever verification of a timber shipment under the U.S./Peru Free Trade Agreement. The verification by USTR resulted in the identification of an additional shipment of Peruvian timber that was imported into the U.S., where over 90% of it was verified as illegally harvested.
In addition to exposing illegal harvesting of timber, and associated crimes (such as corruption, intimidation, arson, document and financial fraud, and tax evasion), the work of HSI Houston in this case has highlighted issues regarding international trade and diplomatic relations. While HSI Houston is continuing to conduct its investigation, it must be noted that they could not do it alone. This has been a truly collaborative effort which highlights the value of using multiple agencies, each with unique authorities, to collective stop illegal behavior. Whether it is Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Principal Legal Advisor, Department of Justice’s Environmental and Natural Resource Division, Customs and Border Protection’s Industrial Materials and Manufacturing Center of Excellence and Expertise, U.S. Embassy Lima’s Economic Section, Peruvian Customs, or Peruvian Forests and Wildlife Resources Control Agency, each has played a significant role in identifying programs and processes which could aid the timber industry and both governments in promoting lawful trade. Further, HSI has used the lessons they have learned to inform other countries on potential best practices to combat timber related environmental crimes.
HSI Houston’s enforcement actions and coordination with Peruvian authorities has also been the subject of several stories by the media – both domestic and international - that have further exposed the problems related to Peru’s timber industry, sending a message of deterrence to those who think about engaging in these environmental crimes.
HSI Houston’s investigative efforts are exemplary and offer a model for others to follow.
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