SA cops arrest wanted car smuggler

Thupeyo Muleya-Beitbridge Bureau

South African police have intensified the crackdown on a syndicate that is stealing cars in that country which they then smuggle into Zimbabwe via the Limpopo River.

While some cars are finding their way to the local market some are destined for Tanzania, Malawi, and Mozambique.

Limpopo police spokesperson, Brigadier Hlulani Mashaba said they arrested a 34-year-old suspect for possession of a suspected stolen motor vehicle on Monday

The suspect is also linked to a ‘vehicle-smuggling syndicate’ operating between Gauteng and Limpopo in Beitbridge on Monday.

“The Provincial Tracking Team, Provincial Murder and Robbery, Sekhukhune Highway Patrol (Flying Squad ) and Private Security Companies received information about the suspect driving on the Berghenk road en route to smuggle a vehicle from Gauteng to Zimbabwe through Beitbridge,” he said.

“An operation was activated, and the team spotted the described Toyota Fortuner 2.8 Gold. They tried to stop it, but the driver sped off.
A chase ensued from Kuschke Agriculture School until he stopped at R101 next to Lund’s. The suspect was immediately arrested for possession of suspected stolen motor vehicle, driving without a valid driving license, and it was also established that he is in the country illegally.”

Brig Mashaba said preliminary investigations revealed that the vehicle was reported stolen at Garsfontein, Gauteng Province on Saturday, 21 October 2023.

The same suspect, he said, on 14 October 2023 smuggled a Toyota Hilux Legend 50 to Zimbabwe.

The suspect is expected to appear at the Polokwane Magistrate Court soon, facing charges relating to breach of immigration laws, possession of a suspected stolen motor vehicle and driving a motor vehicle without valid driving license.

“The police investigations might link the suspect with more similar cases,” he added.

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