Arrest for R10 million worth of tobacco and bribery, East London

South African Police Service

Arrest for R10 million worth of tobacco and bribery, East London
Arrest for R10 million worth of tobacco and bribery, East London. Photo: SAPS

SAPS members in collaboration with customs officers have arrested a 31-year-old male suspect for possession of unprocessed tobacco and bribery on Wednesday afternoon, 21 July 2021 in a Thorn Park warehouse, East London.

Preliminary investigation has revealed that the arrest followed after the cargo of unlicensed tobacco was confiscated by officials at the Beitbridge 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 Klipheuwel Road.

The East London based custom officials were met by Cambridge Rural Safety SAPS members who were on patrol near the warehouse and they together pounced on the warehouse stacked with numerous boxes of unprocessed tobacco and subsequently arrested the owner of the tobacco for possession and illegal activities that took place inside the alleged rented business premises.

During the operation, police discovered about 1, 279 boxes weighing a total of 200 kilograms of both raw and cut rag tobacco.

It is further alleged 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.

Acting Provincial Commissioner, Major General Zithulele Dladla appreciated the sterling work of the police in partnership with customs officials in making a swift arrest at the crime scene. “It is this kind of collaboration and information sharing that will ensure our success in breaking the backbone of the criminal network. I trust that our detectives will dig more into these despicable activities in order to expose even those who may have been part of the plan and business.” said Major General Dladla.

The arrested suspect is expected to appear in the East London Magistrates’ Court once he is charged for possession of unprocessed tobacco and bribery. The possibility of additional charges cannot be ruled out. Investigation continues.

SAPS Newsroom

SOURCESouth African Police Service