NATIONAL NEWS - Police deployed at cross-board roadblocks between the Eastern and Western Cape have confiscated large amounts of dagga and illicit cigarettes as part of the South African Police Service’s (SAPS’) effort to eradicate drug trafficking across borders.
Police spokesperson, Captain Malcolm Pojie said: “It is clear that drug dealers are still exploring alternative ways to commit their illegal activities in an attempt to evade arrest.”
Pojie said on Tuesday morning, at around 6.50am police discovered eight boxes filled with 50 cartons of cigarettes with an estimated value of R200,000 concealed under a load of pineapples in a Ford bakkie.
The vehicle was searched by the police at a roadblock at Tsitsikamma Toll Gate, Pojie said, adding that the bakkie was en-route from Grahams Town to George.
“A vigilant member attached to the Tsitsikamma K-9, the 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, 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 Magistrate’s 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, 8 May 2020 where members confiscated an amount of 450 illicit cigarettes to the estimated value of R5,000.
“A 35-year-old man received a summons and opted to pay a fine to the value of R2,000 and was released,” Pojie said.
Under Level 4 of the lockdown, the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products is banned.
In a separate incident on Monday morning, SAPS members deployed at a roadblock on the R62 in the Langkloof area pulled over a Mercedes Benz vehicle that was en-route from the Eastern to the Western Cape, which was searched and inside the boot of the vehicle, three bags filled with dagga were found, Pojie said.
“The dagga with a weight of 63.1kg is estimated at a value of about R85,000.
“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 [on] Wednesday, 13 May 2020. He has been charged with the illegal possession of drugs,” Pojie said.
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 the 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,” Reddy said.
Pojie added: “These level of operations will be maintained throughout in an effort to eradicate the scourge of drug abuse and trafficking.”