Law Enforcement Working Table

The Trilateral Committee’s Law Enforcement Working Table, also known as NAWEG, coordinates different aspects of wildlife law enforcement, acting as a mechanism for technical and information exchange with other organizations, in particular with the NACEC.

Mission Statement"Through established operational and administrative structures, the North America Wildlife Enforcement Group (NAWEG) contributes to strengthening regional capacity to implement national laws and international agreements regarding wildlife, particularly CITES."

Highlights:

  • Increased intelligence sharing and expanded operational coordination on investigations that successfully stopped several wildlife trafficking schemes. In one case in 2014, the individual responsible for smuggling 241 totoaba swim bladders into the U.S. from Mexico was sentenced in federal court to one year of home confinement and $120,500 in restitution to be paid to the Office of the Federal Attorney for the Environment (PROFEPA). In a separate civil action, the defendant agreed to pay the government roughly 75% of the value of his home that was used in the totoaba smuggling scheme--approximately $138,750. The house, used only for the purpose of drying out swim bladders, was discovered during surveillance after he was apprehended at the border with ten swim bladders hidden in his vehicle.
  • The three countries increased their intelligence and information sharing and continue to evaluate opportunities for joint intelligence work in a dynamic forum as the need dictates.
  • USFWS continued to collaborate with Mexico scientists and PROFEPA. USFWS’s National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory hosted Mexican scientists twice in 2014 to work on analytical work and building a genetic database. This database contains a population-based genetics analysis of endangered totoaba using mitochondrial DNA sequence analysis of seized totoaba swim bladders to estimate age distribution, population structure, and effective population size.
  • Developed, published and distributed an array of educational and outreach materials to targeted audiences which reinforced inspection and monitoring activities in the three countries, including:
    • An Internet site containing technical information for rapid search and quick references for inspectors and the public in general (www.cec.org/naweg);
    • CITES identification guides on birds, turtles, hunting trophies, and tropical woods;
    • A technical document to identify and analyze wildlife specimen samples, as part of case development;
    • A technical document on the use of DNA analysis, its limits and potentials in the investigation of illegal wildlife trade; and
    • A directory of forensic labs and capabilities.

Terms of Reference [pdf]

Link to NAWEG