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R30 million cigarettes smugglers bust

by Staff reporter
02 Mar 2023 at 05:47hrs | Views
SOUTH Africa's crack police team, The Hawks, have arrested five suspects in connection with R30 million worth of cigarettes smuggled from Zimbabwe.

Manuel Mphephu (44) Gibson Machaha (37) Moses Matembudze (38); Asoith Rambuwani (26); and Swethani Mphephu (26), all SA nationals, were caught on a farm between Musina and the Beitbridge Border Post in the Limpopo Province last weekend, according to reports.

Limpopo Hawks spokesperson Captain Matimba Maluleke is reported saying police received a tip-off about illicit cigarettes being smuggled into that country and found the gang concealing cigarettes with bricks.

"A multidisciplinary sting operation between the Hawks, Limpopo SA Police Service, SA National Defence Force and the SA Revenue Service was conducted," Maluleke said.

"The suspects at the farm had a truck and a tractor each with a trailer loaded with suspected illicit cigarettes, covered with pallets of bricks.

"One thing led to another and police soon discovered a pickup truck and another bigger truck in the vicinity and both cars were also fully loaded with suspected smuggled cigarettes," he said.

Maluleke said the five suspects appeared at the Musina Magistrates Court on Monday and remain in custody. Their bail hearing will take place on Friday.

Last month, several South African police officers deployed to the Tshamutumbu Police Station outside Musina were arrested on allegations of facilitating the illegal smuggling of cigarettes.

The policemen have since appeared in court and are currently out on bail.

Source - Newsday Zimbabwe