Cape Town - Four people have been arrested and a large amount of abalone worth millions of rand has been confiscated in Cape Town, Western Cape police said on Saturday.
"Our onslaught to break the back of abalone poaching in the Western Cape is delivering the desired results with a significant number of arrests and confiscations being affected during the past week," Lt-Col Andrè Traut said.
On Friday morning, members from the Cape Town K9 unit responded to information of abalone being transported to Cape Town and conducted patrols in Brooklyn, he said.
At about 10.30am they noticed an SUV reversing into a garage at a residence in Diep Street. The officers entered the garage and found bags containing fresh shucked abalone in the vehicle.
"They proceeded to search the residence and discovered more bags of shucked abalone in a bedroom and also a chest freezer containing the same. In total 8266 units of shucked abalone were seized. It is yet to be weighed to determine the value which is estimated at a substantial amount," Traut said.
R9000 in cash and 12 cellphones were also seized. Four suspects aged between 29 to 42 were arrested and were due to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Monday on charges relating to the Living Marine Resources Act.
On Friday night, members of the Maitland Flying Squad followed up information after arrests were made in the morning for abalone which led them to a farm in the Philadelphia area. The premises were searched and abalone valued at R4.5 million was found, as well as equipment to process abalone for export purposes. The suspects managed to evade arrest and were being sought, Traut said.
Western Cape police commissioner Lt-Gen Khombinkosi Jula thanked the officers for their dedicated efforts, and warned criminals that police would stop at nothing to reduce the levels of crime in the province.
African News Agency/ANA