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After months on the run, Joburg man arrested for poaching endangered plants worth over R2m

Cycads plants. File Picture:Paballo Thekiso

Cycads plants. File Picture:Paballo Thekiso

Published Dec 22, 2022


Pretoria – A 42-year-old man who had been on the run for months after fleeing from police and ditching his car, was arrested in Joburg on Wednesday for dealing in protected plants worth more than R2 million.

Police spokesperson Captain Christopher Singo said the man’s arrest stemmed from an incident on September 13, 2022, when a female traffic official based in Kroonstad was doing normal patrol duties on the N1.

“She then drove to the filling station for fuel. While she was at the filling station she became suspicious of a white combi which was at the filling station. She approached the drive and asked for his driver’s license.

“While she was inspecting the drivers’ license and the vehicle she noticed that the back seat in the middle had been removed and covered with the blankets. She asked the suspect to remove the blankets.

“The suspect did so and the traffic official discovered that he was transporting protected plants (cycads), which he couldn’t account for,” Singo said.

The officer then requested the suspect to follow her to the police station. While they were on their way to the police station, the man stopped his vehicle and indicated that it had broken down.

He then allegedly tried to bribe the officer and she refused and called for backup.

“The suspect fled on foot and left the vehicle. Police came to the crime scene and impounded the vehicle for further investigation where they discovered the cycads estimated to the value of more than R2m.”

The suspect has been charged with dealing in protected plants.

He is expected to appear soon in the Kroonstad Magistrate's Court.