Western Cape lucrative cigarette market receives major blow through police vigilance

WESTERN CAPE – The illicit drug trade has yet again received another blow as vigilant members deployed at cross-border roadblocks between the Eastern-and-Western Cape confiscated large amounts of dagga and illicit cigarettes as part of our strategy to eradicate drug trafficking across borders. It is clear that drug dealers are still exploring alternative ways to commit their illegal activities in an attempt to evade arrest.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020 at about 06:50, a Ford bakkie with a load of pineapples approach the roadblock at Tsitsikamma Toll Gate as it was en-route from Grahams Town to George. A vigilant member attached to the Tsitsikamma K-9 (Knysna Dog Unit) who was deployed at the roadblock noticed that the driver appeared to be anxious. As a result, he pulled over the vehicle and ensued with a routine search. As the member moved some of the pineapples aside on the back of the bakkie, he discovered 8 boxes filled with 50 cartons of cigarettes to the estimated value of about R200 000-00, these boxes were concealed under the load of pineapples.

The 30-year-old man was arrested on the spot and the illicit cigarettes were confiscated. The suspect was processed at the Plettenberg Bay police station and issued with a summons to appear in the Plettenberg Magistrates’ court at a later date and time. The illicit cigarettes were destined for distribution in George.

This confiscation follows similar actions taken in Ladismith, Kannaland on Friday, 08 May 2020 where members confiscated an amount of 450 illicit cigarettes to the estimated value of R5000-00.

A 35-year-old man received a summons and opted to pay a fine to the value of R2000-00 and was released.

In a second incident Monday, 11 May 2020 members deployed at a roadblock on the R62 in the Langkloof area pulled over a Mercedes Bence vehicle that was en-route from the Eastern to the Western Cape.  Upon searching the boot of the vehicle, members found three (3) bags filled with dagga. The dagga with a weight of 63.1kg is estimated at a value of about R85 000-00.

Subsequent to the find, the members confiscated the dagga as well as the vehicle used to transport the consignment. The 26-year-old suspect was arrested on the spot and detained at the Uniondale holding cells. He is expected to make his first court appearance in the George Magistrates’ court , Wednesday, 13 May 2020. He has been charged with the Illegal Possession of Drugs.

Eden Cluster Commander, Major General Oswald Reddy commended the members involved in the mentioned busts for their vigilance and commitment to root out the transportation and distribution of contraband in our province and region.  “Their high level of dedication commitment under trying circumstances is exemplary of the calibre officials we want to deploy to safeguard communities,” he said. These level of operations will be maintained throughout in an effort to eradicate the scourge of drug abuse and trafficking.

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