Sixteen people were arrested Thursday for the crimes of natural resource damage, pollution, and illegal exploitation of mineral deposits, which caused the displacement of several indigenous communities.
According to authorities, these people illegally mining gold were causing irreparable damage to protected areas, reported newspaper El Espectador.
It was also revealed that the illicit miners, with the support of an investor, were provided with machinery and capital to invade wetlands and tvegetative areas where indigenous communities reside.
They had settled on the banks of the River Risaralda, removing alluvial material with heavy machinery, logging native vegetation, increasin sediment in the water and mismanaging fuel, all of which encouraged other phenomena such as the displacement of wildlife and pollution of the river channel.
Police sources stated that through their actions, the illegal miners destroyed the ecosystem and prevented it from regenerating.