Three years in prison for the police officer prosecuted in the case of the giant tortoises of Baltra

Three years in prison for police officer prosecuted in the case of the giant tortoises of Baltra

Boletín N° 188
18 de mayo de 2021

  • The Office of the Prosecutor officially opened another investigation for the crime of illicit association to investigate more alleged suspects in the trafficking of species.

Galapagos. – Judge Ramón Abad of the Multicompetent Judicial Unit of Santa Cruz, who oversaw the case of giant tortoise trafficking that occurred in March, issued a sentence to the police officer Nixon Alejandro PD, finding him responsible for the traffic, possession, mistreatment and transportation of protected species, a crime typified in article 247 of the Comprehensive Organic Criminal Code.

At the trial hearing that was reinstated today at 3:00 p.m., the parties presented their final arguments so that the judge would have sufficient evidence and could issue the sentence. Considering the aggravating circumstances of the case, the sentence was set at three years in prison, in addition to the payment of the reparation of the damage caused, established at $639,100. In addition, the sentenced person must present a public apology through a national communication medium.

The judge determined there were aggravating factors owing to the fact that: the giant tortoises are threatened and endangered species; that the event was carried out within the National System of Protected Areas, specifically in the Galapagos National Park; that causes serious damage to the environment and biodiversity; and that it was carried out using techniques that caused the death of 32 newborn turtles.

Marcelo Mata, Minister of the Environment and Water, assured that “with this judgment, a precedent is set for the benefit of nature, fauna, biodiversity, and above all, the honesty that the planet deserves. Today, justice was served; we hope that the judicial process will continue in its footsteps and a final ruling will be reached.”

“This sentence is the result of the importance that has been given to the process carried out by the Prosecutor’s Office, in which we have delivered all the requested information and provided the necessary expert opinions to clarify the facts. The trafficking of protected species is a blow to nature and this time [the crime] could not be carried out thanks to the procedures implemented in coordination with other institutions,” said Danny Rueda, director of the Galapagos National Park.

On March 28 of this year, during the cargo review activities at the Baltra airport, park rangers from the Galapagos National Park Directorate, together with the Galapagos ecological airport staff, made the discovery of 185 Galapagos giant tortoises (hatchlings), inside of a suitcase that would leave on a flight for Guayaquil, which was stopped thanks to the control work carried out by the park rangers with the ECOGAL company.

Read the full press release from Dirección de Comunicación de Ministerio del Ambiente y Agua at

Informing and sharing news on marine life, flora, fauna and conservation in the Galápagos Islands since 2017
© SOS Galápagos, 2021

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