The police arrested 20 suspects believed to be illegal miners in Stilfontein on Monday and seized 15 AK47s, six hunting rifles, two shotguns and one R5, ammunition boxes, explosives, and an undisclosed sum of money.
The North West Hawks Serious Organised Crime Investigation conducted a pre-dawn raid at a mine shaft in Stilfontein to combat illegal mining, according to Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale.
She said the arrest follows weeks of surveillance into alleged illegal mining activities in the North West.
Colonel Mogale said the raid was conducted with the assistance of Hawks’ Tactical Management Section, Special Task Force, National Intervention Unit, District Illegal Mining Task Team, Tactical Response Team, and Harmony Gold Mine.
The Hawks said the operation is ongoing and it cannot rule out the possibility of more arrests and seizures.
The suspects are expected to make their first appearance before the Stilfontein Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
‘They are facing preliminary charges of conspiracy to commit robbery to wit gold, possession of prohibited firearms, possession of ammunition and contravention of the immigration act,” added Colonel Mogale.