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Johannesburg - Gauteng community safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane has applauded the law enforcement agencies for swift action that led to arrest of three men on Thursday morning who were found in possession of illicit cigarettes worth about R750 000.

Three men were arrested at around 8am for being in possession of illicit cigarettes during a joint law enforcement operation conducted by the Gauteng traffic police specialised unit and the South African Police Service (SAPS) K9 unit in Lenasia, he said on Sunday.

The suspects were spotted and stopped while driving in a beige Toyota Fortuner. Police recovered 16 boxes of cigarettes in the vehicle. "Upon probing the suspects, the driver stated that other boxes were safely stored at his residential place. The police immediately acted on the information and found several boxes to that effect. A total of 65 boxes were recovered and they are estimated at a street value of R750 000."

All the suspects were detained at Lenasia police station and were expected to appear at the Lenasia Magistrate's Court soon.

Nkosi-Malobane applauded the police’s bravery in rooting out criminal elements and working towards a safer province. “The magnitude of illicit trading in our province is a major concern for authorities and has far-reaching implications. It is critical that we break the demand and supply value chain of illicit goods within our communities," he said.

African News Agency (ANA)