Three suspects taking a crack at smuggling various illicit items valued at R23 million into South Africa through Groblersbrug border post appeared in the Phalala Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
Cops charged John Bwalya (44), Matias Kunda (33) and Mutale Brown Mwilwa (35) with smuggling of illicit skin lighting creams, tablets, copper cables, and shoes.
Magistrate postponed the case to March 18 for a formal bail application and further police investigation.
Police Spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said the suspects had already crossed the border from Botswana into South Africa when the police directed the truck they were traveling in towards the searching bay for inspection.
“During the searching process, police found tubes of Epiderm skin lightening creams, Cyproheptadine tablets, copper cables and different types of shoes hidden at the back of the truck,” said Ngoepe.
He said police seized boxes containing 16,600 × 15g tubes of Epiderm creams, 759 400 × Cyproheptadine tablets, 13 kg of copper cables and 112 pairs of shoes – with a street value estimated at R23 million
Ngoepe said police also confiscated the truck and trailer used to transport illegal stuff.
The case follows the arrest of George Kangwe (38) on January 5, 2019, also at Groblersbrug border post traveling from Botswana, smuggling an illegal consignment of medicine.
Ngoepe said police seized a delivery containing 4 500 tubes of Epiderm creams and 80 000 Cyproheptadine medicines with a street value estimated at more than R2.4 million.
Police arrested another suspect trafficking copper scrap metal into the country.
“The driver had just crossed the border from Botswana into South Africa when ordered to stop at the searching bay for inspection.
Upon investigation, police found copper scrap metal estimated at R54 000 concealed inside the trailer,” said Ngoepe.
Police attribute the arrest to a joint-intelligence driven operations composed of different police units conducted under Tom Burke Cluster at the Groblersbrug border post.
The Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Nneke Ledwaba has complimented police and the other role players who continue to make sure they stamp out cross border crime.