Natural Resource Crime Investigations Course: Session 1

The Natural Resource Crime Investigations Course (NRCI), hosted by ILEA Bangkok and the United States Forest Service (USFS), concluded on April 28, 2023, after two weeks of intensive training. The course was attended by 35 participants from nine subscribing countries, and its primary focus was to equip law enforcement officers with the necessary skills to enforce laws related to natural resource crimes occurring on public lands.

During the course, participants were trained in various technical skills, including pre-incident interagency collaboration, detection of natural resource crimes using traditional, collaborative, and technologically advanced methodologies, assessment, preservation and processing of crime scenes, initiation and management of investigative cases, use of investigative techniques (including technical investigative equipment), strategies (including the use of joint investigative teams), and documentation of superior report writing and preparation for presenting to those responsible for prosecution.

The course covered a wide range of natural resource crimes investigations and law enforcement, such as illicit drug cultivation and distribution, wildland arson, cultural resource (archeological and paleontological) theft and damage, timber and forest products theft and damage, and occupancy/use of public lands and resources. Participants also learned about illegal logging, illegal mining, and wildlife crimes.

The course provided an interactive learning environment with discussions, presentations, and practical exercises, promoting applied learning and demonstrating the importance of information sharing, joint intelligence gathering and analysis, and consistent communication with participating countries, law enforcement agencies, and prosecutorial entities. Participants were able to create and initiate investigative plans to combat natural resource crimes within their area of responsibility and develop the professional networks necessary for these plans to succeed.