llicit tobacco deals: SA police arrest two more suspects with R450 000 contraband

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

llicit tobacco deals: SA police arrest two more suspects with R450 000 contraband 
Some of the smuggled cigarettes

Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau

The smuggling of cigarettes between Zimbabwe and South Africa rages on with the South African police reporting that they have arrested two people with a contraband of cigarettes smuggled into that country from Zimbabwe.

The two suspects were arrested on Saturday and Sunday.

Limpopo police spokesperson, Colonel Malasela Ledwaba said police were out in full force to reduce crimes relating to the illicit trade of tobacco.

In the first case, he said, a 39-year-old foreign national was arrested for possession of illicit cigarettes worth almost R300 000 after his vehicle was intercepted in Hoedspruit outside Phalaborwa in the early hours of Saturday.

Some of the smuggled cigarettes

“Members of the Provincial Visible Task team received information about a gold Toyota Rav-4 with Mpumalanga province registration number suspected to be loaded with illicit cigarettes,” said Col Ledwaba.

“The team followed up the information, and the vehicle matching the description was spotted along R71 heading to Hoedspruit. Members managed to stop the vehicle along the R40 next to Hoedspruit.

The vehicle was searched, and 728 cartoons of Remington Gold illicit cigarettes with the estimated value of almost R300,000 were confiscated and the driver was also found in possession of a substantial amount of cash.

He said the second arrest was made on Sunday in Dennilton under Sekhukhune District where police also arrested a 28-year-old suspect for possession of illicit cigarettes worth an estimated R150 000.

The official said the Dennilton Crime Prevention members were on their routine daily work of stop and searches along R25 Uitspanning, when a silver grey Toyota Corolla was stopped but the driver sped-off followed by another white NP200 pick-up truck.

He said in turn, police chased after the two cars, and the drivers stopped their vehicles at Five Morgan Philadelphia main road and ran on foot.

“One suspect aged 28 was cornered and arrested for possession of Illicit cigarettes. The other suspect managed to flee the scene. The two vehicles loaded with illicit cigarettes worth R150 000 were confiscated.

He said the suspects will soon appear in court on charges of possession of illicit cigarettes.

South Africa has become one of the major destinations and conduits where mostly cigarettes are smuggled through Beitbridge Border Post or illegal crossing points along the Limpopo River.

Thirty percent of cigarettes in South Africa are from Zimbabwe including Pacific, Remington Gold, Mega, Dullahs, Branson, and Servilles.