Smuggling arrests snare 9 suspects and abalone worth R20m
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CAPE TOWN - Nine people have been arrested for smuggling abalone with an estimated value of more than R20.2 million.
The busts were made during an operation led by the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation team together with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Crime intelligence, SAPS K9 Overberg Cluster on Tuesday.
They first arrested two Chinese nationals and two Zimbabwean nationals aged between 24 to 27 for operating an illegal abalone processing facility in Welgemoed, Bellville.
Dried abalone units with an approximate value of R6.5 million as well as abalone processing equipment.
Hawks spokesperson Zinzi Hani said officers seized more abalone and equipment valued at more than R13 million in Stikland where they arrested a Kenyan and Somali nationals aged 23 and 30.
“The team proceeded to Parow where another illegal processing facility was unveiled. Two Chinese nationals and a Zimbabwean national aged between 25 to 26 were arrested after more units of abalone were seized. The suspects were charged and are due to make their court appearance in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court tomorrow, 14 0ctober,” said Hani.
Last month, officers dealt a blow to the lucrative trade of abalone when they arrested two men found in possession of a consignment of 12 boxes containing dried abalone with a street value of nearly R2m.
Brackenfell police officers were busy with patrols when they spotted a double cab Ford Ranger, loading boxes onto a truck. The members called for backup and managed to stop the truck near to the corners of Viben and Petersen roads and inspected the cargo before arresting two men aged 26 and 36.