3 drug smuggling suspects bust for impersonating 'Covid-19 officials'
Three men have been arrested in Mpumalanga for posing as Covid-19 officials in order to smuggle dagga over the border into the country.
Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brig Leonard Hlathi said the suspects aged between 31 and 35 were arrested at Ekulindeni early on Monday for using Covid-19 to cover their plot.
According to the report, a team of police officials received information about two vehicles which were branded with Covid-19 insignia allegedly participating in criminal activities.
"They [police] followed up on the information and noticed a VW Polo sedan as well as a Toyota Hilux bakkie, which both matched the description given," said Hlathi.
Hlathi said after police stopped the vehicles, they found three men pretending to be Covid-19 officials on deployment.
"The police also found fake permits inside [the vehicles] and further discovered that the suspects were attempting to cross the border with the intention to collect dagga from Mozambique."
The suspects were arrested and charged with contravention of the disaster management regulations. They had also moved between the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. The vehicles were confiscated for further investigation.
The trio is expected to appear at the Chief Albert Luthuli [Carolina] magistrate's court on Tuesday.
"Police cannot rule out the possibility of adding charges relating to fraud as they impersonated Covid-19 officials."
A police source said the trio confessed to heading to Swaziland with the fake permits to smuggle the dagga there.