- Police have discovered a warehouse housing illicit cigarettes in Mokopane, Limpopo
- Authorities have seized a staggering R700 000 of tobacco products after a tip-off
- The lone suspect apprehended in the raid is expected to appear in court on Thursday
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Limpopo authorities discovered a warehouse filled with illicit cigarettes after the Hawks received a tip-off.
The discovery was made on Wednesday, according to Captain Matimba Maluleke, who commented on the bust:
"In a continuous effort to curb the mushrooming of illicit cigarettes trade in the province, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation assisted by members from Mokopane police station have discovered a clandestine illicit cigarettes warehouse in Mokopane on Wednesday."
A whopping R700 000 in illicit tobacco products was found and confiscated during the operation:
"Forty-two (42) boxes containing an assortment of illicit cigarettes, including Remington Gold, Royal Express and Pacific Blue to the value of over R700 000, were seized. Some of the boxes were found inside a Toyota bakkie parked adjacent to the facility and it was also seized during the arrest."
READ ALSO: Report: Karim insists SA needs more time to decide on lockdown changes
Despite the large haul, Maluleke revealed that only one suspect had been taken into police custody:
"One suspect aged 27 has been arrested for dealing in illicit cigarettes and he is expected to appear in the Mokopane Magistrate’s Court on Thursday. More operations to address the illicit cigarette trade are still going to be conducted."
Meanwhile, the pressure is mounting to relax both the tobacco and liquor ban amid immense economic fallout due to the prohibition.
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that top government officials had advised President Cyril Ramaphosa to lift both bans in addition to shifting South Africa to Level 2 of the Covid-19 national lockdown.
However, ministerial advisory committee chairperson Professor Salim Karim has called for more time before the final decision is made.
While Covid-19 infection rates are slowing and recovery rates are rising, Karim warned that a premature relaxation could prompt a second wave of cases.
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