Police in Harare have confiscated 353 bales of second hand clothing hidden in a flat in Block 6 Magaba, Mbare, and arrested two suspects in connection with the case.
The bales will be handed over to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) for further investigations to establish appropriate customs duty, surcharges and fines. The bales could be confiscated and destroyed.
Two suspects, Kudakwashe Chiyaka and Simbarashe Kasawaya, are assisting police with investigations while a manhunt has been launched to locate Zvidzai Hove, believed to be the owner of the bales.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the arrests yesterday. Police have been launching a crackdown on all smuggled goods and on smugglers.
Last week, police in Chipinge intercepted two trucks loaded with 418 bales of second hand clothing, as the crackdown on smugglers continues to intensify.
Since January this year, more than 45 000 people have been arrested countrywide for smuggling and other illegal cross-border crimes.
In the Chipinge incident, one of the truck drivers was arrested when the trucks were stopped and impounded, but the other driver managed to flee and is still at large.
The interception occurred at Tanganda Business Centre in Chipinge during curfew hours at around 10pm last Thursday and police have since impounded the two trucks.
Investigations have revealed that the clothes and shoes were smuggled into the country through an unauthorised entry point at Southdowns in Chipinge.
In April, police in Nyazura, Manicaland, resisted US$9 000 bribe dangled by members of a smuggling syndicate. Instead of taking the cash they arrested six members of the gang and recovered a huge consignment of second hand clothing bales laden on six trucks believed to have been destined for Harare.
First four suspects were intercepted and arrested but then two more men appeared and offered the officers a bribe of US$9 000, which the officers turned down and immediately arrested them as well.
The first four suspects in this case were arrested after a high-speed chase with officers who ended up shooting the tyres of the fleeing suspects’ vehicles. Two other trucks managed to evade the police but were later found dumped near Headlands.
Seven more smugglers, six of them foreigners, had been arrested in Binga a day earlier as they loaded 275 clothing bales onto a 15-tonne DAF truck as law enforcement agents intensify operations against smuggling.