Three suspects nabbed with almost a million rand of illicit cigarettes. Picture: SAPS
Three suspects nabbed with almost a million rand of illicit cigarettes. Picture: SAPS

LOOK: Three suspects nabbed with illicit cigarettes worth almost a million rand

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Apr 17, 2020

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Durban - Three men caught with R900 000 worth of illicit cigarettes were arrested near the Hluhluwe Game Reserve on Thursday. 

According to KZN police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala Hluhluwe SAPS conducted an operation when they stopped three bakkies travelling on the road.

"A search was conducted and 40 boxes, each containing 500 packets of cigarettes, were seized by police. 

"The street value of the recovered cigarettes is estimated at R900 000," said Gwala. 

Three suspects nabbed with almost a million rand of illicit cigarettes.

Picture: SAPS

She said the three suspects aged between 28 and 54 were placed under arrested. 

"One of the suspected, aged 33, also faces charges pertaining to being an illegal immigrant."

Gwala said all the suspects are expected to appear in court soon for being in possession of illicit cigarettes.

Three suspects nabbed with almost a million rand of illicit cigarettes.

Picture: SAPS

KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula said this arrest will send a clear message to others who are contemplating to smuggle illicit cigarettes into the province. 

"Operations are in place to combat all forms of criminality in the province," said Jula. 

Sinenhlanhla Mnguni, the chairperson of the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association since the ban, there had been an increase in break-ins and thefts from shops and storage facilities which stock so-called “non-essential” goods such as cigarettes.

Three suspects nabbed with almost a million rand of illicit cigarettes.

Picture: SAPS

It would take a while to see how much the lockdown would affect the use of illegal cigarettes, but already, those selling them are using new methods to move their product.

The Independent of Saturday reported Tax Justice South Africa head, Yusuf Abramjee saying: “We are seeing how the black market is flooding the market again. People are trading illegal cigarettes on Facebook. They are selling them in parking lots. It is defeating the purpose of a lockdown.”

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