The Hawks have arrested two well-known men in Nelspruit on Wednesday for the possession of 19 rhino horns.

TWO ALLEGED WILDLIFE TRAFFICKERS CAUGHT WITH 19 RHINO HORNS

According to Colonel Katlego Mogale, the two men, aged 48 and 53, are expected to appear at the Nelspruit Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

“A multi-disciplinary operation was conducted yesterday, 21 July 2021 by the Hawks’ Organised Crime Investigation,  Wildlife Trafficking Counter-Intelligence and private sector to curb wildlife trafficking in Nelspruit.” 

Mogale said the men were arrested while transporting 19 rhino horns in two bakkies. 

“They were charged for illegal possession and selling of rhino horns. Their vehicles were impounded for further investigation.”

She furthermore said the rhino horns with an estimated value of R2,6 million, were seized.

“The investigation to ascertain if the suspects are linked to crimes contravening the Endangered Species Act is continuing.”

Meanwhile, a total of 160kg of rhino horns were seized in a major bust at the OR Tambo International Airport by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) on Saturday, 17 July 2021.

“Customs officers of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) seized 32 pieces of rhino horn, weighing 160kg, at a cargo transit shed at the OR Tambo International Airport.”

It said that customs officers were conducting manifest profiling with the Detector Dog Unit at the airport when one of the dogs identified a suspicious shipment destined to Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).

“The shipment was declared as “Live Plants” and consisted of 8 pieces. During a physical inspection, six boxes were found containing traditional material concealing, 32 pieces of rhino horn protected with bubble wrap, weighing 160kg.”

The South African Police Services’ Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks) was alerted about the detection.

“A criminal case was registered with the police for further investigation.”

ALSO READ: 160kg of rhino horn seized in major SARS bust at OR Tambo airport

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Presh JM Reporter

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