Zandile Khumalo, News24 | February 17, 2022
A woman was arrested in Bedfordview after 29 rhino horns, believed to be worth R6 million, were found in her possession on Wednesday evening.
It is believed that the woman is involved a wildlife trafficking syndicate.
Gauteng Hawks spokesperson Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu said they found suitcases wrapped in plastic in the garage of the 49-year-old woman in Senderwood, Bedfordview.
It is alleged that the suitcases were ready for distribution from an operation centre she had at her home.
“The police searched the suitcases and found grocery items, eight scrap laptops and suspicious brown boxes,” Mulamu said.
“Police found about 29 rhino horns, weighing 51.94 kilogrammes, with an estimated street value of R6 million. The horns were wrapped in heavy foil. Along with this was four weighing scales and two heavy cutting machines, all of which were taken in for further investigation.”
The woman was arrested immediately and is expected to appear in the Germiston Regional Court on Friday for dealing in rhino horns and the contravention of the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act.
According to Mulamu, the arrest comes after the investigation team followed up on intelligence about an ongoing investigation related to a Kempton Park case in which people were charged with dealing in rhino horns and the contravention of the Customs and Excise Act in September last year.
Gauteng Hawks head Major General Ebrahim Kadwa said he was pleased with the development.
“This is viewed as a major breakthrough as the suspect arrested [is] believed to form part a formidable international wildlife trafficking network,” Kadwa said.