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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


Man arrested for possession of illicit cigarettes worth millions

The man was handcuffed in a crime intelligence driven operation by the Lichtenburg K9 and Delareyville police for the illicit cigarettes.


In an effort to crack down on illicit economic activities, North West police have arrested a 43-year-old Pakistani national for possession of illicit cigarettes worth millions of rand.

The man was handcuffed in an intelligence-driven operation by the Lichtenburg K9 and Delareyville police.

Police spokesperson Colonel Adéle Myburgh said a search and seizure warrant was obtained after intelligence was received regarding suspected illicit activity at the suspect’s place in Delareyville.

Search and seizure

“During the search, police discovered illicit cigarettes with an estimated street value of R4.5 million, in a store room. The suspect was immediately arrested and is expected to appear before the Delareyville Magistrates’ Court on Monday, 27 May 2024.

“The North West Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Sello Kwena expressed his gratitude to all members involved in the operation for their hard work and cooperation that led to the arrest,” Myburgh said.

ALSO READ: PICS: Border police detain 42 illegal immigrants and seize illicit cigarettes

Border police

Last month, border police detained 42 illegal immigrants and confiscated thousands of rands worth of illicit cigarettes

The border police team at the Beitbridge port of entry outside Musina in Vhembe, Limpopo, apprehended the foreign nationals within the borderline for contravention of the Immigration Act.

Limpopo Saps provincial spokesperson, Colonel Malesela Ledwaba, said the suspects were processed by the immigration officers from the department of home affairs for direct deportation to their countries of origin.

 “In addition, the team had a separate incident on Sunday, 28 April 2024, when, during their operation, they confiscated a homemade wooden step ladder at Beitbridge that is believed to be used to cross the Limpopo River between Zimbabwe and South Africa,” Ledwaba said.

The team also arrested nine other suspects in separate locations at Mokopane in Waterberg for dealing in illicit cigarettes; thousands of rands worth of illicit cigarettes were seized.

Illegal cigarettes

According to a study conducted by Prof. Corné van Walbeek and Dr. Nicole Vellios from the research unit on the economics of excisable products at UCT’s School of Economics, The South African Revenue Services (Sars) has lost R119 billion of tax revenue due to illicit cigarette sales between 2002 and 2022.

The illicit cigarette market comprised 5% of the market in 2009 and peaked at 60% in 2021, before decreasing to 58% in 2022.

Additional reporting by Chulumanco Mahamba and  Ina Opperman

ALSO READ: Sars loses R119 billion in tax revenue due to illicit cigarette sales since 2002

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