South Africa News

8 arrested as Gauteng police recover over 78 unlicensed firearms

Gauteng police arrested eight suspects and recovered more than 70 unlicensed firearms during blitz operations in Cosmo City, Kagiso and Kameeldrift over the past weekend.

Police said the firearms contained 102 rounds of ammunition and they were recovered during stop and go operations in the various areas. The operations were aimed at combating crime as well as tracing wanted suspects.

Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Mavela Masondo said the operation was also conducted as a result of tip-offs the police received.

He said during the Cosmo City operation, officers successfully foiled a robbery and recovered four firearms. Four suspects were arrested.

“Police received information about suspects that were planning to rob a chain store in Cosmo City. Information was operationalized and police from the Honeydew Reaction Team spotted the vehicle that matched the description given.

“They pounced on the vehicle and found two suspects with two firearms.

“Police proceeded to a safe house, and two more suspects were arrested after they were found with two unlicensed firearms,” said Masondo.

In Bekkersdal, West Rand, the Crime Intelligence, West Rand K9 and Highway Patrol Unit led an operation to the Leratong Taxi Rank in Kagiso where they recovered five firearms.

“Police recovered three firearms as they were pursuing a suspect believed to be behind the killing of people in Bekkersdal and West Rand recently,” he said.

The suspect fired shots at the police and dropped his firearm before fleeing through a river.

“When the suspect saw the police, he started running away towards the open veld, and police gave chase.

“The suspect fired shots towards the police whilst running.

“He dropped the firearm on the ground and proceeded running into the river.

“Police went to search his premises and found two more unlicensed firearms,” he said.

In Kameeldrift, four suspects were nabbed when they were found in possession of three unlicensed firearms, a vehicle reported to be hijacked and a vehicle taken from a house robbery.

“Through police’s crime Intelligence, information was received about a gang that is involved in vehicle hijackings and house robberies in Pretoria area,” said Masondo.

He said the Highway Patrol, Tracker Connect and the Hawks had been part of the units involved in nabbing the suspects.

“The suspect’s vehicle, a Mazda CX-5, with four suspects was stopped in Kameeldrift.

“Upon searching the car and occupants, police found three unlicensed firearms.

“Preliminary investigation revealed that the car was reportedly hijacked.

“Further investigation led the police to Pretoria where police found a Chev Cruze that was taken during a house robbery in Pretoria,” he said.

The suspects face charges of being in possession of unlicensed firearms, possession of hijacked vehicle and possession of a stolen vehicle.

Police have sent all firearms recovered to the Forensic Science Laboratory for ballistic testing.

Gauteng provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela said he was pleased with the arrests.

“These are the firearms that are used to commit serious and violent crimes in our province and I am happy that our members are working hard to recover them.

“I believe that we have saved the lives of innocent people that would have been killed by criminals using these firearms. Ballistic tests results will help us link these suspects to other crimes committed in our province,” said Mawela.

-IOL

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