US company convicted of importing illegal timber from Peru

On Friday, the US authorities reported that an American company was ordered to pay $200,000 to Peru for importing illegally extracted timber from the Amazon region in Peru.

Global Plywood and Lumber Trading LLC, based in Nevada and operating out of California, has pleaded guilty in federal court in Washington to violating the Lacey Act, which prohibits the trade in timber without specifying its source.

“The company acknowledged that it did not take reasonable care when importing illegally sourced timber from the Peruvian Amazon region into the United States,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

According to the prosecution, in August 2015, Global Plywood purchased about 1,135 cubic meters of lumber from three suppliers in Peru.

The shipment, which included ferrule types from the Amazon region of Loreto, arrived on September 27, 2015 aboard the Yacu Kallpa in Houston, where it was seized by customs officials.

Subsequent investigations revealed that about 92% of the imported wood had been illegally cut or moved, according to the Ministry of Justice, which conducted the investigation in cooperation with the Peruvian authorities.

Prosecutors said Global Plywood, which was dissolved in 2017, admitted it did not review forest manuals or import permits, nor did it check for wrongdoing.

For this reason, the US District Court of Columbia on Friday ordered the company to pay $200,000 in compensation to the Peruvian Ministry of Environment, in addition to a $5,000 fine.

Peru was rocked in November 2017 by the Yacu Kallpa scandal, when the NGO Global Witness revealed that major timber exporters from the Peruvian Amazon had made millionaire shipments to Mexico and the United States, knowing that their origin was not necessarily legal.

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