Mon. Jan 18th, 2021

Seven men arrested for smuggling counterfeit cigarettes and weaves

SAPS arrested seven men in connection with smuggling of counterfeit cigarettes and weaves from Mozambique on Friday night.

seven men arrested for smuggling counterfeit cigarettes and weaves 1024x1365 - Seven men arrested for smuggling counterfeit cigarettes and weaves

Criminals have sought to take advantage of South Africa’s lockdown restrictions by peddling counterfeit cigarettes and other goods.

The inflated value of cigarettes, in particular, has made selling counterfeit products even more lucrative than normal and the regulations forbidding the sale also prevent those who have been ripped off from reporting the incidents.

The South African Police Service have had to be vigilant at all times with smugglers getting creative and also carrying large amounts of cash to bribe officers.

Hluhluwe cops bust fake cigarette smugglers

On Friday 15 May SAPS members intercepted a vehicle transporting seven men, and a search of the vehicle found that they were smuggling fake cigarettes and counterfeit weaves in Hluhluwe, KwaZulu-Natal.

Police say the goods found in the vehicle were valued at close to R1 million.

One of the suspects is alleged to have offered police officers R100,000 for their release, and he was immediately charged for bribery.

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The counterfeit cigarettes and weaves were smuggled into South Africa from Mozambique. Photo: SAPS

All seven of the men, aged between 20 and 36 were arrested and charged for possession of counterfeit goods and contravention of the Immigration Act having jumped the border to obtain the merchandise.

The suspects will appear in the Mtubatuba Magistrate’s Court on Monday 18 May 2020.

South Africa’s borders are closed to travellers with only essential goods allowed to be transported in or out of the country. The vehicle was also overloaded in contravention of the Disaster Management Act lockdown level 4 regulations.

“Last night, seven men were arrested after they were found in possession of a number of boxes containing counterfeit cigarettes and hair weaves at Hluhluwe,” South African Police Service spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said on Saturday 16 May.

“Police received intelligence about the men who were transporting counterfeit goods into the province and an operation was conducted.

The suspects aged between 20 and 36 were found in the CBD and were immediately arrested. 

“One of the suspects offered police officers R100 000-00 for their release and he was immediately charged for bribery. 

“The suspects were charged for being in possession of counterfeit goods and bribery. 

“They will appear in the Mtubatuba Magistrate’s Court on Monday, 18 May 2020,” Colonel Mbele added. 

“The suspects were also charged for contravening the Immigration Act. The combined estimated street value of the recovered goods is R990,000.”

KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula praised the police officers for the arrests, recoveries and resistance to bribery and corruption.

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