Eight people linked to R37m perlemoen ring arrested

Eight people have been arrested on perlemoen related charges
PERLEMOEN PROBE: Eight people have been arrested on perlemoen related charges
Image: 123RF/bedo

A special takedown operation has resulted in the arrest of eight people believed to be behind a R37m perlemoen poaching syndicate. 

Seven people, between the ages of 45 and 65, were arrested in the Western Cape and one was arrested in Britz in the North West.

Since the inception of the investigation in 2016, Hawks provincial spokesperson Warrant Officer Zinzi Hani said, a total 25.3 tonnes of perlemoen with an estimated value of R37m had been seized.

The accused will appear in the George Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

They are charged alongside the company they allegedly used to launder the proceeds of the illegal activities.

The arrests form part of a series of tracing operations which have been taking place across the Western Cape.

Hani said warrants of arrest were executed by the multidisciplinary team, led by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation team (Hawks), and supported by the public order police and anti-gang unit attached to the Overberg district.

“The first seven suspects were arrested in the Cape Peninsula, Overberg and Hassequa areas.

“The alleged criminal group mainly operated in the Western Cape and Gauteng.

“All suspects face a string of charges including the transportation and illegal storage of perlemoen, operating an illegal fish processing establishment, and llegal exporting of perlemoen.

“Furthermore, the suspects will also be charged in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act for money laundering and for managing the affairs of a criminal enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity,” Hani said.

He said information was then received about the whereabouts of the eighth suspect who lived outside the Western Cape.

“Immediately, the suspect was traced and arrested at his residence in Britz in the North West.

“The accused was then transported to George.

“He remains in custody pending a formal bail application on Tuesday, and for his case to be joined with his co-accused in the matter.”



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