Brazilian authorities dealt their first blow against illegal mining on indigenous lands on Tuesday, January 31 confiscating dozens of planes used by gold prospectors, who have been accused of causing the humanitarian crisis affecting the Yanomami.
At least 24 planes seized by security forces were in custody on Tuesday in the Federal Police yard in Boa Vista, the capital of the Amazon state of Roraima.
Police sources said that other aircraft were destroyed in the police operation launched against the illegal miners, without specifying the number of aircraft.
The operation began after President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva signed a decree on Tuesday authorizing the arrest of any aircraft suspected of trafficking illegal merchandise in the area, which borders Venezuela. Lula instructed that air and river transportation be prohibited in Yanomami land.
Of a population of 27,000, over 1,000 have been infected with malaria, many suffering from heavy metal poisoning used by illegal miners.