Picture: Khalil Senosi/AP/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Two suspects, aged 36 and 40-years-old, were arrested on Tuesday night at OR Tambo International airport with 10 pieces of rhino horn worth an estimated R2 million.

South African Police Services spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Katlego Mogale said the arrests were made during an intelligence-driven operation after members of the detective team at the airport followed up on information about the smuggling of horns. 

"The suspects arrived at the airport with the intention of boarding a flight to Vietnam but they were intercepted by the SAPS team and their luggage was searched," Mogale said in a statement on Wednesday. 

"This is one of many successes in the ongoing war against endangered species and wildlife crimes in the country. The arrest comes after an intensive and thorough investigation by the members of the multi-disciplinary team at OR Tambo International Airport. The partnership of the different stakeholders involved in this never-ending challenge is vital, and it continues to yield positive results." 

The police said the suspects would be appearing in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court on charges of illegal possession of rhino horn. 

"This arrest is indicative of their commitment to rid the airport of criminality.  Successes such as this, are a culmination of efforts that form part of the revised strategy that has been implemented at the OR Tambo International Airport."

Mogale urged people to call the Crime Stop number 0860010111 if they had such information. 

"Callers may remain anonymous and all information will be treated with the strictest confidence. We urge the people of South Africa to continue supporting police efforts in the fight against crime."

African News Agency/ANA