South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers busy with border protection patrols under Operation Corona have had a busy three weeks, recovering multiple stolen vehicles transporting millions of rands worth of illicit cigarettes.
Soldiers from Bambatha Rifles deployed to Limpopo were busy with patrols around the town of Alldays near the Zimbabwe border when they confiscated a Mitsubishi Bakkie valued at R150 000 transporting illicit cigarettes valued at R1.1 million, reported Captain Moses Semono for Joint Operations Tactical Headquarters Limpopo.
At a waylay spot, soldiers recovered a Toyota Hilux GD6 valued at R674 800, which was confirmed as stolen by the South African Police Service. Elsewhere, soldiers on a foot patrol confiscated illicit cigarettes valued at over R2 million.
At Madimbo, soldiers recovered a Toyota Corolla valued at R120 000 that was transporting illicit cigarettes valued at R202 957.
Furthermore, soldiers arrested over 136 undocumented persons along the South African/Zimbabwean border. Needless to say, all goods confiscated as well as persons arrested were handed over to the relevant authorities for further processing, Semono reported.
The Acting Officer Commanding Joint Tactical Headquarters Limpopo, Lieutenant Colonel Frans Lechuti, commended the members for the job well done.
As the festive season approaches, it is likely that soldiers will see a spike in smuggling activity as crime surges towards the end of the year.