May 21, 2021

Zim man’s R1,6 Million cigarettes deal goes wrong in SA

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Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau

A 37 year-old Zimbabwean man believed to be part of a cigarette smuggling racket has been arrested in Musina with contraband worth R1,6 million.

The man was also found in possession of a stolen vehicle which he was using to transport his loot.

South Africa’s organised crime police (Hawks) spokesperson Captain Matimba Maluleke said the man was arrested at his “warehouse” in Musina on Monday where he was loading six cars with the cigarettes.

“We cannot disclose the name at this point but we expect the dealer to appear in the Musina Magistrate’s Court soon,” said Captain Maluleke.

“The police team comprising the Hawks, Crime Intelligence, Polokwane Tactical Response Team and SAPS Musina Visible Policing members received intelligence about the vehicles that were loading illicit cigarettes at a warehouse in Musina CBD on Thursday, 20 May 2021 and followed it up”.

He said upon arrival at the “warehouse”, they found a trailer and six other vehicles fully loaded with illicit cigarettes valued at R1,6 million.

Capt Maluleke said they later established that one of the vehicles, a VW Passat, was reported stolen in the Florida area in Gauteng province.

He said they also seized the six vehicles and a trailer all valued at R1.1 million.

“The suspect was charged for possession of illicit cigarettes and suspected stolen vehicle. The search for other outstanding suspects is still continuing,” said Capt Maluleke

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