A Brazilian court has sentenced 36-year-old Russian biologist Kirill Kravchenko, who was found guilty of illegal wildlife trade. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison, informs G1.
Petersburg resident Kravchenko was detained on June 18, 2021 as a result of an operation in which Interpol participated. The security forces stopped the bus in which the Russian was in Rio de Janeiro and confiscated 320 living organisms caught in the wild.
Law enforcement officials consider Kravchenko one of the largest traders of wild animals.
Kravchenko had connections on five continents and was part of a criminal group, investigators say. They have been monitoring the suspect since 2017. From the records of the telephone conversations of the suspects, it follows that they planned to catch rare wild animals not only in Brazil, but also in the Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Panama, Japan, Vietnam.
This year, Kravchenko was detained twice. On January 20, 2021, he was stopped at the Sao Paulo airport while trying to take 294 living organisms to St. Petersburg, including about 50 lizards, 50 spiders and 25 frogs of various species. Conditions of transportation were dire and many of the animals died shortly after they were found, according to law enforcement officials.
Most of them were in carry-on luggage. The biologist argued that animal trafficking was legal in Russia and that he was unaware of such a ban in Brazil. The Russian was fined and released.
In 2017, Kravchenko was detained at the Amsterdam airport. Snakes, frogs, cockroaches and lizards were found in his luggage. He hid live animals in suitcases, wrapping them in clothes.
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