Brazil's king of deforestation dethroned in drive to beat land clearers

By Jonathan Watts

For most of the past six years, Ezequiel Antônio Castanha had seemed a pillar of the community in the small Amazonian city of Novo Progresso. As the owner of a supermarket, hotel and car dealership, he provided more jobs than anyone else. Outside his municipality, few had heard of him. Neighbours described him as a “pessoa normal” (regular guy).

Today, however, the thick-set, middle-aged man sits in jail with a notoriety across Brazil as a Tony Soprano-like character whose businesses were used to launder money from one of the biggest land clearance syndicates ever uncovered.,amazon,king%20of%20deforestation&utm_campaign=Forests&__surl__=IgeZp&__ots__=1425302479979&__step__=1


By Matt Zimmerman (CC BY 2.0)