Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
South African police have intercepted a contraband of cigarettes worth nearly R670 000 as they clamp down on smuggling activities along the Limpopo River.
Two suspects aged 35 and 41 have been arrested in connection with the matter.
Limpopo police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said the two suspects were arrested on Tuesday while transporting the ‘cargo’ from Musina towards All-Days in two vehicles.
“The vibrant partnership between the Police and the Rural Safety structures under Saamboubrug policing area led to the apprehension of two suspects and confiscation of illicit cigarettes today on Tuesday January 18, 2022 at about 5am,” said Brig Mojapelo.
“We received a tip-off from local farmers in the area, about two NP300 Nissan pickup trucks that were travelling from Musina using the Alldays road, transporting illicit cigarettes and heading towards Saamboubrug policing area.
“A snap operation was conducted by the local police, assisted by the farmers at Maasstroom crossroad with the intention of stopping and searching the vehicles.”
He said the suspects were arrested following a high speed chase after they failed to stop at a security check point.
Brig Mojapelo said the suspects were arrested in the Tolwe policing area.
One driver was arrested on the spot while the other abandoned the vehicle and was later found hiding in the bushes.
“The illicit cigarettes, with an estimated value of R667 326, were found loaded in the two motor vehicles and were confiscated. The suspects, aged 35 and 41 are expected to appear before Senwabarwana Magistrate’s Court soon for possession and smuggling of illicit cigarettes,” said Brig Mojapelo.
The smuggling of cigarettes between South Africa and Zimbabwe is rife.
It is estimated that 43 percent of cigarette brands sold in the neighbouring country are from Zimbabwe.