TWO Zimbabweans aged 32 and 43 have been arrested in South Africa for allegedly smuggling an elephant tusk and a pangolin, worth around R1 million, through an illegal entry point along the Limpopo River.
The suspects were arrested last Friday and are expected to appear before the Musina Magistrate’s Court soon.
Limpopo police spokesperson Colonel Malesela Ledwaba confirmed.
“The two were arrested following a sting joint operation by the police’s Intelligence Unit, Stock Theft and Endangered Species Unit, Beitbridge Task team joined by members of SANDF and Wildlife centre on Friday,” he said.
“Our officers received information about individuals who were in possession of protected species and who had just crossed into South Africa from Zimbabwe using a boat.
“Thorough investigations, and an operation, were conducted resulting in the apprehension of the suspects around 12 noon on the western side of the Beitbridge Border Post”.
Col Ledwaba said the team recovered one pangolin and an elephant tusk with an estimated street value of R1 million from the suspects’ bags.
South African police also arrested two other people aged 33 and 40 for illegal possession of explosives at the Beitbridge border post on the same day.
The suspects, Col Ledwaba said, were arrested at about 5am as they crossed into South Africa from Zimbabwe.
“This after their truck with two trailers was stopped and upon searching it, the police together with SARS Custom Officials discovered 16 x 25kg bags containing commercial explosives hidden inside the two trailers.
“Members of the Musina Explosives Unit attended the scene and 17 reels of detonating fuse, 1 250 units of connector capped fuse, and 2 569 units of 28 mm x 270 mm blasting cartridges made from superpower 90 in Zambia were confiscated,” he said.
The male driver and a female passenger were arrested on the spot and the truck was also confiscated.