SANDF soldiers confiscate R6 million worth of illicit cigarettes

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South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers on border protection duty have in one weekend recovered over R6 million worth of illicit cigarettes and several vehicles used by smugglers.

Captain Moses Semono reported for Joint Operation Tactical Headquarters Limpopo that members of Bambatha Rifles, deployed in Limpopo under Operation Corona, were on a vehicle patrol in Musina when they discovered three vehicles behind the Musina Mall packed with illicit cigarettes.

With soldiers approaching, the smugglers (in a Nissan Hardbody, a Toyota Quantum panel van, and a Quantum taxi) fled towards the settlement of Artonvilla near the South Africa/Zimbabwe border. Bambatha Rifles soldiers gave chase, causing the smugglers to drive through bushes and abandon their vehicles. The suspects escaped with the keys, and the South African Police Service was called to confiscate the vehicles.

The vehicles were carrying illicit cigarettes worth R5 937 712. The Quantum is valued at R300 000, the Quantum panel van R250 000, and the Hardbody R200 000.

Meanwhile, their counterparts who were busy with guard duties at the Musina Operational Base Main Gate, confiscated a Toyota Corolla, valued at R120 000, which was fully packed with illicit cigarettes worth R637 560.

All the cases were handed over to the South African Police Service in Musina, as well as SA Revenue Service Customs at Beitbridge Point of Entry for further processing.

The Officer Commanding Joint Tactical Headquarters Limpopo, Colonel CS Mabotja, commended soldiers for the job well done.