Almost R22-m worth abalone seized in PE this week

-Edited by Bev Mortimer-About R22-million worth of abalone was seized and more than 15 arrests were made by the SAPS in the Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth/PE) area of the Eastern Cape of South Africa during different anti-abalone poaching raids at four different premises on Thursday and Wednesday this week.

The highest illegal haul of abalone occurred on Thursday when more than a dozen suspects were arrested in three spearate raids. In the one incident more than R20-million worth of abalone was seized in Rocklands area of PE by a joint law enforcement operation involving Border Security Crime Intelligence, Gqeberha K9, the Anti-Gang Unit, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental Affairs and Nelson Mandela bay (NBM) Metro Police.

In the well-planned raid an abalone processing establishment was bust on a small-holding in Rocklands. A total of 26 169 units of abalone(wet and dried), gas tanks, burners, industrial fans, chemicals as well as a generator were confiscated and suspects were arrested.

In a second incident on Thursday suspects were arrested at a processing facility in Kruisrivier in Kariega. The SAPS seized 4274 units of abalone and equipment valued at more than R1.2-million.

And in a third incident the same day, in a joint operation between DPCI and Public Order Policing police swooped in at a house in Whiteleaf Avenue in Algoa Park at 6.45 am and found 10 suspects busy off-loading bags of abalone. The SAPS confiscated 1629 units of abalone , worth R500k, and a Ford Focus vehicle.

Then on Wednesday at about 8 am SAPS officers and members from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental Affairs, acted on info received about a VW Polo at a retail shop in Standford Road, PE, in Extension 24 in Bethelsdorp. When they approached the car the driver and the passenger abandoned it and started running but were apprehended.

In the car they found 936 of abalone that were confiscated as well as the W Polo was also seized for further investigation. The estimated street value of the abalone is R187 200.

All arrested suspects were detained on charges of illegal possession of abalone and or transportation of abalone and will appearing in their respective magistrate courts soon.

The SAPS says the Geherberha efforts to curtail abalone poaching Police in Gqeberha are leaving no stone un-turned as they clamp down on illegal abalone activity in the Metro while at the same time, perpetrators are feeling the pinch in their pockets.

Provincial Commissioner, Lt Gen Nomthetheleli Mene commended the assiduous work of the police including members from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental Affairs in ensuring that marine life is protected from greedy and ambitious poachers.

“It is clear that illegal abalone trade is rife and thriving in Nelson Mandela Bay and Kouga regions of the Eastern Cape. We will continue in our efforts to dismantle these organised syndicates whose activities also impact on serious and violent crimes. The exceptional work done by our teams sends a clear message to criminals that we are not sleeping and that we will find and uncover your illegal activities,” Lt Gen Mene added.

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