Police swoop on abalone syndicate

Three suspects were arrested during an early morning raid in Hout Bay on Thursday morning as part of a protracted investigation targeting an abalone and crayfish syndicate operating in Hangberg‚ Western Cape police said.

It said the syndicate has links to gang and international criminal elements.

“The joint operation was executed by SAPS specialised forces such as NIU‚ Task Force‚ Airwing‚ Provincial Detectives‚ Tactical Response Team and POPs members‚ who swooped on the Hangberg area in an effort to deal with organised crime and abalone poaching.

“Anticipating a backlash from the community and navigating a challenging landscape of the area‚ the police officials pounced on suspects after 3am this morning with minimum disruption‚” said Western Cape police spokesman Captain FC Van Wyk.

He said the suspects‚ aged 48‚ 32 and 27 years‚ would be charged in terms of the violation of the Marine Living Resources Act as well as for cultivation of cannabis.

They will appear in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

Deputy Provincial Commissioner for Detection Services Major General Jeremy Vearey acknowledged the precision with which the operation was executed.

“Under trying circumstances the members arrested the suspects and that will definitely break the backbone of abalone poaching in the province. More arrests are imminent as the investigation unfolds‚” he said.

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