Pair bust with 19 rhino horns in Mpumalanga
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Pretoria - Two people were set to return to court on Friday to apply for bail after they were arrested for being in possession of 19 rhino horns they were allegedly transporting in two vehicles.
The two men, aged 48 and 53, were arrested on Wednesday and appeared at the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court where their matter was rolled over to Friday.
The Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale said the pair’s arrest comes after a multi-disciplinary operation was conducted by their organised crime investigation, wildlife trafficking counter-intelligence as well as the private sector to curb wildlife trafficking in Nelspruit.
“The rhino horns with an estimated value of R2.6-million were seized and an investigation to ascertain if the suspects are linked to crimes contravening the Endangered Species Act is continuing.”
“They were charged for illegal possession and selling of rhino horns and their vehicles impounded for further investigation,” she said.
In July last year, an illicit consignment of rhino horn worth R115m was seized, as wildlife crime continues to pose a threat in South Africa.
The 41 pieces of rhino horn were stashed in six boxes, concealed in carbon paper and foil, wrapped in traditional material, and disguised as fine art.
The illicit consignment was detected by sniffer dogs during a customs warehouse inspection at OR Tambo International Airport, destined for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The day before, customs officials had seized a 47kg consignment of rhino horns destined for Malaysia at OR Tambo, which was marked and declared as scaffolding equipment, valued at R3m. Police are now investigating if there are any links between the two seizures.