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In a first, feds offer $1M reward for info on foreign crime network

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Do you have information on the Xaysavang Network? If so, the State Department is willing to pay $1 million.

For the first time, the department is offering a reward for information that could help it dismantle a transnational criminal organization. The first target is the Laos-based Xaysavang Network, which U.S. government officials say is supporting animal poaching.

“The involvement of sophisticated transnational criminal organizations in wildlife trafficking perpetuates corruption, threatens the rule of law and border security in fragile regions, and destabilizes communities that depend on wildlife for biodiversity and eco-tourism,” said the State Department in a statement. “Profits from wildlife trafficking, estimated at $8 to $10 billion per year, fund other illicit activities such as narcotics, arms, and human trafficking.”

On Thursday morning, The Washington Times reported that a growing number of terrorist organizations, especially in Africa, are selling things like elephant tusks to fund their activities. The groups could be raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars through animal poaching.

The Xaysavang Network, according to the State Department, has a base in Laos with affiliates in South Africa, Mozambique, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and China. The group “facilitates the killing of endangered elephants, rhinos, and other species for products such as ivory.”

The State Department has set up a site to handle tips at TOCRP-Xaysavang@state.gov.

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About the Author
Phillip Swarts

Phillip Swarts

Phillip Swarts is an investigative reporter for The Washington Times, covering fiscal waste, fraud and political ethics. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and previously worked as an investigative reporter for the Washington Guardian. Phillip can be reached at pswarts@washingtontimes.com.

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