On Saturday, 21 January 2023, Mangaung Metro Crime Combatting Unit members operationalised intelligence on a clandestine laboratory where abalone was illegally processed at a house in Boersma Street, Universitas. The team arrived at the identified target house at about 20:00 and tactically gained access to the house.
Drying pans packed with abalone, packages of salt, sodium hydrosulphite, fans, heaters and gas bottles were found in different rooms of the house and seized. The weight of the seized wet abalone was about 1900 kilograms with an estimated market value of R3,5 million. The dry abalone was also weighed at about 230 kilograms with an estimated market value of R1,4 million. The total value of the confiscated abalone is estimated at R4 941 494-00. Two males were found at the house, with one using the hidden escape exit to evade the police. A 52-year-old foreign national was arrested by the team.
Different role-players arrived to process the scene. A case of unlawful possession of abalone was opened at Parkweg Police Station. The suspect will appear in Bloemfontein Magistrate Court on Tuesday, 24 January 2023.