Two farmers and a game ranger, believed to be behind a rhino poaching syndicate, were arrested at 3am on Sunday after a sting operation by the Durban and Richards Bay organised crime units and national intervention unit.
The farmers, from Louwsberg and Newcastle, and the ranger were nabbed minutes after they cut a fence on the boundary of Mkuze Falls Private Game Reserve, about 40km from Pongola, sources said.
Police, on the pretext of wanting to buy rhino horns, met the farmers earlier in the week and set up the time when the rhinos would be poached. It has been alleged that seven rhinos were being targeted.
After arresting the suspects, police searched their homes and seized five rifles, a 9mm pistol, python skins and various cycad and dagga plants.
The suspects were detained at the Magudu police station and were expected to appear in court tomorrow.