Police seize cigarettes worth P3m at border

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Cases involving smuggling of cigarettes from the country are reportedly escalating amid reports that police in Botswana have so far intercepted syndicates at their northern border with Zimbabwe and seized over P3 million worth of cigarettes.

Botswana police spokesperson Detective Superintendent Thomas Letebele early this week told Botswana Guardian newspaper that 39 cases were being handled by the courts and Zimbabwean products top the list.

“The most common brands include Kingsgate, Remington, Madison and Everest. The others, though relatively unknown on the local market, are Dallas and Debby,” said Letebele.

He said in most cases, the contraband cigarettes were often brought into the country through illegal entry points.

Letebe added that the Remington brand was the highest priced, with the total value of cigarettes seized estimated at P118 220.

He said in most cases the smugglers used established routes to transport the cigarettes, a development that made it difficult for police to catch the culprits.

“We suspect that the smugglers work in cahoots with locals residing in areas along the two countries’ borders,” he said.

Letebele said at some points, the suspected smugglers abandoned their vehicles laden with the cigarettes at police roadblocks and flee.

He added that the sale of smuggled cigarettes was a booming trade as they were not only sold in Botswana, but on other African markets as well.