THE South African Police Services (Saps) have once more intercepted motor vehicles, including an SUV, that were being smuggled out of South Africa into Zimbabwe.
During the same operation police also recovered a large quantity of cigarettes that had been smuggled into SA from Zimbabwe and arrested a 38-year-old suspect whose identity is yet to be released.
BY OWN CORRESPONDENT
Saps spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe in a statement said a late model BMW X3 was abandoned halfway across the Limpopo River cutting the boundary between SA and Zimbabwe.
“The crime intelligence driven operation comprising members of the Musina Saps and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) followed up information that led them to the discovery of a BMW X3 in the middle of the Limpopo River,” Ngoepe said.
“The suspects abandoned the vehicle and fled to the other side of the river. The vehicle was then retrieved and towed back to South Africa.”
Ngoepe said the operation was expanded to other areas of Musina after a tip off about the presence of cigarette smugglers using three vehicles.
“One of the vehicles sped off from the Baobab tollgate and was found abandoned along the Waterpoort Road after a high-speed car chase. The other vehicle was cornered at Sebayeng next to Turfloop in the Mankweng Cluster outside Polokwane, some 200km south of Beitbridge.”
The suspect, aged 38 was subsequently arrested and illegal cigarettes confiscated, he said.
Saps during the operation seized one VW Polo car, a Toyota Etios, 8 831 boxes of Zimbabwean made Pacific Blue cigarettes and another 714 cartons of unspecified cigarettes with an estimated value of R158 215.
Ngoepe said police were still tracing the other suspects involved in these incidents, while investigations into the ownership of the recovered vehicles were still unfolding.
Saps have also reported an unrelated incident where heavy vehicles worth
R24 million were stolen and were suspected to have been destined to Zimbabwe.
The vehicles now known to have been stolen from the Gauteng province were recovered in the Northern province along the route used by thieves smuggling vehicles to Zimbabwe.
Ngoepe said a 37-year-old man was arrested for possession of suspected stolen motor vehicles at Mashau Thenga village.
The vehicles are five tipper trucks and three water tanker trucks.