Local September 19, 2012 | 4:00 pm

Raid on campsite nets 53 Haitian charcoal makers

SANTO DOMINGO.- The Environment Ministry Wednesday afternoon announced it seized 1,500 sacks of charcoal and destroyed several furnaces ready for burning wood in Barahona, Bahoruco and Independencia provinces.

It said 55 people, two Dominicans and 53 Haitians were arrested at a campsite with 70 huts and charged with damaging the Jaragua National Park and other protected areas.

It said among those arrested were the group’s ringleaders Francisco Matos and Gerardo Cuevas Peña, and seized a 12 gauge shotgun, 26 machetes, two "zip guns," four axes, three hoes and same number of hammers, among other objects.

In a statement, Environment said it escorted the Haitians to the Immigration Dept. at Pedernales and the Dominicans are being held by the province’s judicial authorities.

Also confiscated was a large amount of tree trunks which were to be used to make charcoal.

The arrests were the result of raids by Environmental Protection (SENPA) and Border Security (CESFRONT) agents, as well as Dominican Air Force airmen.

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