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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

Constantia and Cookhouse: Seven days and two busts net abalone worth millions

In the space of one week, police have clamped down on abalone poaching with two busts totaling an estimated R5m.

Eastern Cape police officials nabbed two suspects in Cookhouse with abalone (perlemoen) worth more than R3 million in their possession on Friday, 14 July.

The arrest follows hot on the heels of the discovery of abalone with an estimated value of nearly R2 million in the upmarket Cape Town suburb of Constantia last Saturday.

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R2m Constantia abalone bust

The Constantia bust by members of the Public Order Police led to the arrest of a 43-year-old Ghanaian national in possession of 985 units of dried abalone with an estimated street value of R1.94 million.

Drying equipment and gas canisters used to process the abalone before shipping it out of the country were also seized during the operation.

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R3m Cookhouse bust

According to Eastern Cape police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu, the Cookhouse duo was arrested after they allegedly tried to pull wool over the eyes of the police.

“It is alleged that at about 8.10am, the team stopped a  flatbed  tow truck carrying a black VW Touareg in Cookhouse,” Naidu said in a statement on Sunday.

“On searching the Touareg, it was discovered that the vehicle was loaded with 3,275 units of wet abalone.

“The driver of the truck and his passenger were arrested and both vehicles were confiscated for further investigation.”

Anti-gang unit nabs suspect in Gqeberha

Naidu said in another unrelated incident, anti-gang unit members arrested a 39-year-old male in possession of 1,161 units of abalone.

“Members were patrolling along Grahamstown Road, in Deal Party, Gqeberha, when they noticed a a Nissan Hardbody dripping with water. The vehicle was stopped and the abalone discovered.

“The suspect is detained on a charge of illegal possession of abalone and will appear in the Gqeberha Magistrate’s Court on Monday,” Naidu said.

The Cookhouse duo also appear in the magistrate’s court in KwaNojoli, formerly Somerset East, on Monday.

Arrests a ‘warning’ to abalone poachers

“These arrests serves as a deterrent  and warning to poachers involved in the illegal harvesting, transportation and trading of abalone and emphasises the consequences that individuals involved in such activities may face,” Naidu added. 

“While criminals may try to be innovative,  law enforcement  is committed to protecting the safety of our citizens including the preservation of endangered species through intelligence, expertise and determination to stay one step ahead of criminals.”

NOW READ: Two men arrested for abalone worth R10m

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