POLICE have intercepted 34 suspected border jumpers and arrested two haulage truck drivers on allegations of smuggling bales of clothes, electrical gadgets, skin lightening creams and various prohibited drugs worth over $15 million.
The suspects were intercepted in Beitbridge, Plumtree, Kanyemba and Chirundu border posts over the weekend.
Police confiscated goods, a commuter omnibus and two haulage trucks that were being used to ferry the goods into the country from the neighbouring countries, as investigations continue.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the arrests.
“The ZRP urges members of the public to observe the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions for their health and safety. This follows an incident in which 34 people were arrested in Beitbridge along Limpopo River spillway for flouting the lockdown regulations and trying to assist smugglers.
“In another similar case, police recovered 17 television sets and home theatres, which were smuggled into the country through Vaka area in Plumtree,” he said.
The police received information that the television sets were being loaded into a commuter omnibus and the suspect escaped leaving the gadgets when police3 arrived.
Police also arrested a truck driver Tinashe Chionekwa (43) after he smuggled through Kanyemba Border Post, 151 bales of clothes and various prohibited pharmaceutical drugs including skin lightening creams, all worth over $5.9 million.
Chionekwa was intercepted around 2am after police officers laid an ambush in Mutorashanga area.
He was driving a Mercedes Benz Axor truck registration number AEV 6438 loaded with the smuggled goods.
When he was arrested, he alleged that the goods had been loaded by a man only identified as Tichaona who police are searching for.
Another truck driver, Israel Maruma (38) was arrested at Chirundu Border Post after he tried to smuggle 257 bales of clothes, various hair extensions, disposable nappies, decoders, lotions and other prohibited pharmaceutical drugs all worth over $3,5 million.
Asst Comm Nyathi said when Maruma arrived at the border from Zambia while driving a South African registered truck, he handed over an empty manifesto to Zimra officials and was issued with a gate pass.
A few minutes later, some alert security officers stopped him and searched the truck leading to the recovery of the various goods. He was arrested and the truck was impounded.
Smuggling cases have been on the increase during this period and some of the suspects have been arrested while others have escaped.