Home South Africa News New method of smuggling cigarettes into South Africa busted

New method of smuggling cigarettes into South Africa busted

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Cigarette smuggling

The longer cigarettes remain off of supermarket shelves, the more the illegal market benefits. Illicit sales of banned tobacco products have soared during lockdown, and the boom in business has made criminal activity very profitable for those involved. Well, the ones who don’t get caught, anyway…

A major operation in Limpopo has uncovered a sly new method of smuggling cigarettes into South Africa from across our national borders. Mzansi remains the only country in the world to retain a smoking ban in the fight against coronavirus. Its implementation has been as clumsy as it is costly, with billions in tax revenue lost from the prohibition of tobacco sales.

But a group of risk-takers near the border with Zimbabwe were rumbled on Sunday. They thought they were part of an ingenious plan, by stuffing cartons of cigarettes into 25-litre containers. This, apparently, has been successful during lockdown – but the authorities have grown wise to this act of desperate deviance:

CIGARETTES SMUGGLERS STOPPED IN LIMPOPO
The operation successfully seized, amongst other things, the following items:

  • 100 × cartons of cigarettes.
  • 8 x 20 packets of cigarettes.
  • 12 firearms.
  • 16 cell phones.

CRIMINAL PLANS ‘UP IN SMOKE’
It’s fair to say that SAPS were thrilled with the results of their hard-work, too:

“In the Mopani District, a joint operation which comprised members from SAPS Tzaneen, Modjadjiskloof, Maake and Mokwakwaila, Namakgale, Hoedspruit, Phalaborwa and Lulekani, have arrested 35 suspects aged between 26 and 65 for crimes including the possession of illicit cigarettes and possession of dagga.”

“The suspects, arrested on various charges, are expected to appear before the Magistrate Courts soon. Detectives, Crime Intelligence, Crime Prevention, K9, Tactical Response Teams, Public Order Police, Task Teams and SANDF focused mostly on hot spot areas such as taxi ranks, malls, and liquor outlets.”

-SAPS statement

southafrican.com