Hundreds of Mexican police raided illegal sawmills near a monarch butterfly reserve yesterday in “the largest seizure of illegally logged wood in the country’s history,” according to the attorney general’s office. Millions of butterflies travel some 2,500 miles each winter to spend the cold season in the Mexican forest, where illegal logging is rampant. The Mexican government has long pledged to crack down on logging in butterfly habitat, but previous administrations have been criticized for not following through. Within the past year, the current government has closed 59 sawmills and charged 193 people with related crimes; in yesterday’s raid, agents seized some 600 truckloads of wood — the equivalent to about 1,750 adult trees — and detained 56 people. Suspects found guilty of illegal logging could face prison sentences of six months to nine years, fines of up to $13,650, and the eternal wrath of small, winged insects.

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