Crime

Rhino poachers nailed!

Four suspected rhino poachers were arrested after a massive police and security response was launched.

Following a tip-off of poaching activities, a joint operation was launched by the Provincial Stock Theft and Endangered Species Unit, Modimolle K9, Waterberg Flying Squad Team, Modimolle LCRC, Welgevonden Reaction, HPG and the Modimolle Police. They were assisted by a private security chopper to help locate two of the suspects who fled, according to Provincial Police Spokesperson, Col Malesela Ledwaba.

On Monday, 29 January at approximately 07:00 a white Kia and Chevrolet Spark were travelling on the N1 towards Gauteng. When the police stopped the Kia at the Kranskop Toll-gate, a man and woman fled into the bushes. A 56-year-old man, sitting in the back seat, was arrested. The police found a rhino horn wrapped in tinfoil.

A rifle and hunting knives possibly linked to the poaching of a rhino were found in the suspects’ possession.

The woman was arrested at about 22:00 along the R101 near Radium, as she was waiting for a car to pick her up.

The police called in further reinforcements and were assisted by members of the Gauteng Tactical Response Team (TRT), the Police Anti-Gang Unit, Tracker Connect, Cap Specialised Operation, GTP Saturation Unit, ICB-Insurance Crime Bureau to help in the search for the Chevrolet Spark that traveled with the Kia.

The search led them to Sky City, in the Klipriver area in Gauteng. The car was found parked at a house with two men inside. Upon searching the vehicle, the police found an unlicensed hunting rifle with ammunition and two cell phones including knives that were possibly used to de-horn the rhino.

The men were immediately arrested.

A manhunt for the other suspect who evaded an arrest at the toll gate is underway.

According to WO Pieter Booyse of the Modimolle Police, the police have possibly found the rhino carcass in question in the Lowveld. DNA results will determine whether it is linked with the horn that was found.

Anyone with information may contact the Investigating Officer, Capt Pieter Meyer on tel. 082 319 9460, call the crime stop number on 08600 10111, or visit their nearest police station.

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