EAST LONDON: The confiscated contraband is estimated at a street value of R10 million.
A 31-year-old male suspect was arrested by South African Police Services (SAPS) for possession of unprocessed tobacco and bribery worth R10 million on the 21 of July 2021 in a Thorn Park warehouse in East London.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the arrest followed after the cargo of unlicensed tobacco was confiscated by officials at the Bait Bridge border from Zimbabwe and destined to East London.
‘’It is alleged that customs officers immediately communicated with their counterparts in East London who hurried to the suspected Warehouse in Kleipheuvel Road,’’ said Brigadier Tembinkosi Kinana.
Cambridge Rural Safety SAPS members met the East London based custom officials who were on patrol nearby the warehouse, and they together pounced on the warehouse stacked with many boxes of unprocessed tobacco and later arrested the owner of the tobacco for possession and illegal activities that occurred the alleged rented business premises.
‘’During the operation, police found about 1, 279 boxes weighing a total of 200 kilograms of both raw and cut rag tobacco,’’ said Kikana.
Kikana further said that the suspect attempted to bribe the customs officials with an undisclosed amount of money in order to evade arrest. The customs officials immediately reported the matter to the police who have since confiscated the alleged cash and added another charge of bribery.
The confiscated contraband is estimated at a street value of R10 million.