The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation in Limpopo is extremely determined to fight the smuggling of illicit cigarettes in the country by dismantling and paralysing the syndicate operations. This follows a successful discovery of suspected illicit cigarettes at a farm between Musina and Beitbridge Port of Entry on 25 February 2023.
The Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation received a tip off about illicit cigarettes that were kept at a farm waiting to be transported to different destinations in the country.
A multi-disciplinary sting operation between the Hawks, Limpopo South African Police Service, South Africa National Defence Force and South African Revenue Services was immediately conducted.
When the team arrived at the identified farm, they found a truck and a tractor with trailer loaded with suspected illicit cigarettes that were covered with bricks pallets. A preliminary investigation led to the discovery of a bakkie and another truck in the vicinity that were also fully loaded with suspected illicit cigarettes. The value of the seized suspected illicit cigarettes is over R30 million. The team worked throughout the night trying to safeguard the exhibit and locate the suspects.
Eventually, five suspects aged between 26 and 44 were arrested for contravening the Customs and Excise Act and are expected to appear in the Musina Magistrate’s court on Monday, 27 February 2023.
The National Head of the Hawks, Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya has commended the team for good work. “The work of the team is commendable.
The DPCI shall continue to dismantle organised criminal groups that decide to operate anywhere in our jurisdiction.” Lieutenant General Lebeya said.
Hawks bust over R30 million worth of illicit cigarettes and arrested five suspects https://t.co/yubsQUhbVM#ArriveAlive #IllicitCigarettes #Hawks @TruckAndFreight pic.twitter.com/70D5eUIEaT
— Arrive Alive (@_ArriveAlive) February 27, 2023
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