Operation Grain of Sand was launched 25 November by the Federal Police to combat illegal sand extraction in the states of Paraíba and Pernambuco.
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Three search and seizure warrants were served in the cities of Carpina/PE and Tracunhaém/PE.
The Magna Carta considers mineral resources, including those located underground, as assets of the Union. Among these ores in the Union, sand stands out, which is one of the most relevant resources for the civil construction industry.
Owners of clandestine sandpits extract and sell the ore and, after the reserve is depleted, they abandon the area and leave it completely degraded. They do not pay royalties, fees, taxes, that is, there is practically no cost. They only pay the rent for the machine, if not the owner, and the per diem for the operator or file.
Such entrepreneurs operate by extracting and selling sand without specific authorization from the National Mining Agency and the state environmental agency, in this case SUDEMA. They sell the truckload of illegally extracted sand for a much lower price, discouraging legal trade, as it harms those who sell it legally, in the face of unfair competition.
In addition to the sandpit owners, files and machine operators, the hunters can also be indicted for usurpation of Union raw material and environmental crime.
The targets are accused of promoting illegal sand extraction in the state of Paraíba, specifically in Pedras de Fogo/PB.
The practices practiced configure the crimes of extraction of mineral resources without the competent authorization, permission, concession or license, and crime against property, in the form of usurpation, for exploiting raw material belonging to the Union.
Together, the crimes can reach up to 6 years of detention, in the course of the searches other crimes can arise, such as ideological falsehood, criminal association and money laundering. ■