Four jailed for perlemoen smuggling
FOUR Zimbabweans‚ linked to an international perlemoen smuggling syndicate have been sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.
The men entered into a plea bargain with the state and were given reduced sentences by the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court.
To date the Hawks have arrested 14 people connected to the syndi- cate‚ including two Chinese men believed to be the managers of the South African arm of the syndicate.
Hawks spokesman Captain Lloyd Ramovha said that the operation – code-named Rambo – had started in February with raids on premises across Cape Town.
“The quartet have been in custody since their arrest and, after realising that they were facing an insurmountable case following thorough investigative work‚ they elected to enter into a plea bargain‚” Ramovha said yesterday.
The Zimbabwean men will be deported after serving their sentences. They also pleaded guilty to being in South Africa illegally.
The multidisciplinary operation between law enforcement agencies resulted in the seizure of R3.8-million worth of perlemoen.
It has been reported that poached perlemoen is exchanged on the international black market‚ not only for cash but for other contraband like drugs‚ which is sold to users in South Africa. – TMG