Police officer and court interpreter bust for illegal dealing in rhino horn
The Hawks have swooped on a police officer and a court interpreter for alleged illegal rhino horn dealing.
The policeman and an alleged accomplice were arrested during a sting operation in Brakpan and Bassonia, Gauteng, on Thursday. They appeared in the Palm Ridge magistrate's court on Friday. Hawks spokesperson Capt Ndivhuwo Mulamu said the two have been on the directorate’s radar since May.
“It is alleged that in May 2019, a 53-year-old warrant officer attached to the serious organised crime investigation in Gauteng and his 39-year-old female accomplice allegedly dropped off a consignment in a warehouse at Pomona declared as wine, destined for Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia,” said Mulamu.
“A Hawks investigation team focusing on endangered species were alerted about the suspicious wine consignment. Upon arrival at the warehouse, authorities searched the wooden crate containing wine and found thirty rhino horns wrapped in plastic concealed under the crate.
“The crate with its contents was taken to forensic services for analysis. Further investigation led the police to positively identify shipment senders, a police official and a court interpreter. Warrants of arrest were issued for their apprehension.”
Mulamu said authorities seized electronic gadgets and documents during the arrest. The suspects are facing charges of illegal dealing in rhino horns and contravention of the Customs and Excise Act.
“More arrests cannot be ruled out as the investigation continues,” said Mulamu.