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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


Hawks bust illicit cigarettes worth R30 million, five arrested

The illegal cigarettes were being kept at a farm waiting to be transported to different destinations in the country.


The Directorate for Priority Crime (Hawks) have seized illegal cigarettes worth R30 million on a farm between Musina and the Beitbridge Port of Entry in Limpopo.

At least five suspects were also arrested for the crime on Sunday.

Tip off

It is understood, 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.

According to Hawks spokesperson Captain Matimba Maluleke a multidisciplinary sting operation between the Limpopo South African Police Service, South Africa National Defence Force and South African Revenue Services made the bust

“When the team arrived at the identified farm, they found a truck and a tractor with trailer loaded with suspected illegal cigarettes that were covered with bricks and 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,” Maluleke said.

ALSO READ: Two foreign nationals nabbed for dealing in illegal cigarettes

Arrests

According to Maluleke officers also arrested five people.

“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.”

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,” Lebeya said.

Foreign nationals arrested

Last month, two foreign nationals were arrested for dealing in illegal cigarettes on the East Rand.

The Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) Northern Region Task Team and Warrants Unit officers intercepted and seized the illicit cigarettes at a store in Eastleigh, Edenvale.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Notorious Fast Guns gang leader killed in apparent hit

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hawks Illegal Cigarettes Limpopo Police