Pretoria – Six people have been arrested after a law enforcement unit pounced on them while processing abalone in Bloemfontein, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) said on Tuesday.
Hawks regional spokesperson in Free State, Captain Christopher Singo, said the six people were bust by a collaborative unit of police units.
“The Hawks’ serious organised crime Investigation team together with SAPS tactical response team and K9 as well as Local Criminal Record Centre, all based in Bloemfontein busted an illegal abalone facility in Bayswater, Bloemfontein,” said Singo.
“Six suspects, between the ages of 20 and 40, were arrested. Their arrests came after crime intelligence-led information was received about a house at 25 Olympus Street in Bayswater, where they were processing abalone.”
Singo said a joint team conducted a search and seizure operation where they uncovered dry and wet abalone with an estimated street value of more than R7 million.
“The suspects are expected to appear in court soon,” added Singo.
Earlier this month, the police in the Western Cape arrested a 26-year-old man for the illegal possession of 496 units of abalone.
The suspect was apprehended on the N1 at Brackenfell and he appeared in the Kuils River Magistrate’s Court.
At the time, police spokesperson Wesley Twigg said: “While out on patrol, police officers belonging to the Maitland Flying Squad stopped a suspicious vehicle on the N1, near Brackenfell. Upon searching it, officers discovered substantial units of abalone in the vehicle.
“A 26-year-old suspect was arrested on the scene and taken into custody.”