The Department of Environment and Conservation is expected to lay a string of charges after one of the largest seizures of illegally harvested sandalwood in recent memory.
More than 40 tonnes of the valuable wood was seized by DEC officials in separate raids in Kalgoorlie- Boulder and Menzies last Friday and Saturday.
At current market value, the haul could have sold for up to $600,000.
DEC senior investigator Rick Dawson said illegal harvesting, or “pulling”, was on the rise in the Goldfields due to the dramatically increased value of Sandalwood.
“Sandalwood can command up to $15,000/tonne and this has resulted in an upsurge of illegal activity by people who want to cash in on this very lucrative market,” he said.
“Since March 2011, DEC, with the assistance of WA Police, has seized 17 consignments of illegally harvested sandalwood weighing in excess of 70 tonnes and valued at around $1 million, with one person charged and several investigations ongoing.”