Four jailed for per­lemoen smug­gling

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - NEWS -

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

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