The operation took place on land belonging to an Agroforestry Base company in Baragua municipality, and involved local residents, as well as in the central-eastern provinces of Camagüey, Las Tunas and Holguin.
Improvised camping tents were detected and destroyed on site, where around 100 people used to spend the night to perform illegal activities; deep excavations were also observed, according to Juventud Rebelde newspaper.
Testimonies from the detainees revealed that the stones that were extracted were transferred to Camagüey province, where they were sold at 1,000 Cuban pesos a piece (about 40 dollars), at a time when one gram of gold quoted at 2,500 pesos (about 100 dollars at the official exchange rate).
“As a result of the operations, four complaints were filed for the crime of illegal mineral trafficking and another for improper use of natural resources, in addition to official warnings to 34 citizens linked to the extraction,” the newspaper added.
In addition, 90 fines were imposed for violations of decree laws and 50 sacks totaling 47.4 kilograms of mineral stone, two bicycles, an animal-drawn vehicle (including a horse) and tools used for excavations and metal detection were seized.
The report noted that 70 people from Las Tunas and Camagüey are under preventive measures.
The Government’s plan to prevent and confront such events that affect natural resources is the result of a study on management and operation deficiencies and the bad work of the organizations responsible for the protection and sustainable use of the environment, the newspaper underlined.