Spanish authorities have seized 33 tonnes of illegally logged Brazilian wood destined to be crafted into musical instruments. The wood, cut from the endangered tropical tree Lignum Vitae, is highly coveted in the guitar industry and was valued at more than 3m euros (US$3.6m).
Civil Guard officers seized the wood at 21 locations across Spain.
Six people were arrested and charged with smuggling and crimes against the environment.
The arrests and seizures were the culmination of a two-year Civil Guard operation to halt imports of illegal wood into Spain.
Wood believed to amount to 1,000 whole trees was seized at sites in the provinces of Madrid, Cuenca, Granada and Valencia.
But the operation centred on three companies, two in Madrid and one in Valencia which acted both as wholesaler and manufacturer.
Guitars made from Lignum Vitae wood can sell for around 6,000 euros ($7,380).
The tree is listed by the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) as being under threat of extinction.
Felling Lignum Vitae trees and unauthorised trading of its wood has been heavily regulated worldwide since 1992.
Any trade must be accompanied by a CITES document certifying the legal origins of the wood.
Instruments made from the wood were destined for a number of countries, including the US, Germany, Japan and Canada.