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Hawks score R379m preservation order against suspected smuggling syndicate

Smugglers nabbed with R1.7m illicit cigarettes

The war on illicit cigarette received a shot in the arm after police got a R379m preservation order.
The war on illicit cigarette received a shot in the arm after police got a R379m preservation order.
Image: 123rf/KIRILL PONOMAREV

The Polokwane High Court has granted the Limpopo Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations' Assets Forfeiture Unit a preservation order worth more than R379m against illicit cigarette smugglers.

This comes after the Limpopo Tracking Team and police officers from Makhado police station in Limpopo arrested more than 10 suspects in connection with the  smuggling of cigarettes from Zimbabwe to Johannesburg in February.

Hawks spokesperson Lt Col Matimba Maluleke said the suspects were arrested after two law enforcement agents spotted five suspicious luxury vehicles (Ford Territory, Nissan Pathfinder, two BMW 5 series and Audi A4) driving on the N1 near Makhado.

“They were tactically stopped and they were also searched and illicit cigarette worth R1.7m believed to be destined for Johannesburg were found and seized,” said Maluleke.

He added that all occupants who were in those five luxury vehicles were also apprehended.

“About 11 occupants including the driver and passengers were arrested for smuggling illicit cigarettes, the vehicles were also seized as part of the investigation,” he added.

The court order was granted last week.

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