South African Police Intensity Battle Against Smuggling, Illicit Trade
South African Police Tighten Grip on Illicit Activities
In an attempt to subdue the burgeoning illegal trade, the South African police force in the Limpopo province, which shares a border with Zimbabwe, is intensifying their efforts. A rising number of daily arrests are being made in connection with smuggling of cigarettes and drug peddling, as stated by the provincial spokesperson for the police, Colonel Malasela Ledwaba.
A recent arrest saw a 48-year-old suspect apprehended for possessing a variety of cigarettes suspected to be smuggled from Zimbabwe. The suspect, now facing charges for possession of illicit cigarettes, was intercepted and searched at Roedtan. He was found with the illegal cigarettes in his vehicle and was promptly arrested. He is expected to face charges at the Mookgopong Magistrates Court.
Drug Peddling in Polokwane Policing Area
In a separate incident, the Provincial Organised Crime Unit carried out a tactical operation which resulted in the arrest of another individual for possessing and dealing drugs in the Polokwane Policing area. Acting on a tip-off about a white Audi A4 allegedly distributing drugs near the Polokwane Provincial Hospital, the team arrived at the scene and found the suspect with Kat and Crystal meth drugs worth R11,000.
The suspect was immediately taken into custody and is set to appear before the Polokwane Magistrate Court on charges of possession and dealing drugs. However, his age is yet to be determined.
Illegal Crossings and Cigarette Smuggling
The smuggling of cigarettes from Zimbabwe to South Africa through illegal crossings along the Limpopo River is a rampant issue. It is estimated that 30% of cigarettes in South Africa, including brands such as Pacific, Remington gold, Mega, Dullahs, Branson and Servilles, are smuggled from Zimbabwe.
Major Drug Busts in Africa and the Middle East
Earlier this year, drugs worth nearly 100 million euros were seized in Africa and the Middle East during a large-scale international police operation. The operation, conducted in March and April, was spearheaded by Interpol in collaboration with customs and police officials from 41 countries. This resulted in the arrest of 287 individuals on the African continent and in the Middle East.
In South Africa, police seized 973 cocaine bricks worth around 32 million euros from a fishing vessel, resulting in one of South Africa’s largest drug busts. The operation also led to the recovery of over 4.5 million tablets of Tramadol, a powerful opioid diverted from its medical purpose, 10,000 steroids, and 200 kilos of amphetamines. In addition to drugs, the police found living pangolins, vehicles, rough diamonds, and contraband cigarettes.
Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling
INTERPOL and AFRIPOL conducted their first joint operation against human trafficking and migrant smuggling, leading to more than 1,000 arrests worldwide and thousands of victims being identified. The operation, codenamed FLASH WEKA, took place in two phases between May and June. The coordinated efforts of law enforcement across 54 countries aimed to dismantle the organized crime networks behind human trafficking and migrant smuggling.
While these developments signify progress in the fight against illegal trade, human trafficking, and drug smuggling, there is still much work to be done. The international community must continue to strengthen cooperation and dedicate resources to these efforts in order to combat these crimes effectively.
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