|Monday, July 02, 2007|
Sea Shepherd Busts Sea Cucumber Poachers in Ecuador
Sea Shepherd Galapagos Director of Operations Sean O'Hearn-Gimenez has been busy. Earlier this month he intercepted poachers attempting to smuggle almost 18,000 shark fins into Peru. He oversaw arrests of the smugglers and the incineration of the fins (to keep them off the black market).
On Friday, June 29th, Sean traveled to the town of Libertad, near the coastal city of Guayaquil, where he participated in a raid on a house that was being used to process illegally obtained sea cucumbers for shipment out of the country.
Police officer Lieutenant Paco Chavez of the Federal Environmental Crimes division had placed the house under surveillance based on information supplied by Sea Shepherd. A warrant was obtained to search the house.
The raid resulted in the seizure of 26 sacks of sea cucumbers representing some 40,000 of the animals. The raid also seized a large bag of salt, 2 plastic tanks, 3 propane gas cylinders, 3 industrial ovens, 59 metallic nets, 2 weighing scales, 8 plastic storage containers, 15 undersized lobsters, 3 underwater illegal harpoon guns, and 2 industrial burners.
Channel 1 News from Ecuador arrived at the crime scene and interviewed O'Hearn-Gimenez about the arrests. Sea Shepherd not only works to stop illegal activities, but also endeavors to publicize what is happening. We will report further after the crime scene report is officially filed.
UPDATE : During the forensic investigation, the official count of the seized sea cucumbers was recorded to be 93,018.