Police net abalone smugglers

08 November 2017 - 14:24 By Samantha Tafoya
Officers found a vehicle in Mfuleni with abalone valued at R1-million.
Officers found a vehicle in Mfuleni with abalone valued at R1-million.
Image: SAPS

Millions of rands’ worth of abalone could buy you many things - among those are jail time.

In the past seven days‚ authorities nabbed criminals who were in possession of abalone which had a collective street value of approximately R11-million. This year TimesLIVE reported that a single abalone bust worth R20-million led to a 23-year jail term for a father and son.

Abalone‚ an endangered species and seafood delicacy‚ is collected off the shores of the Western Cape and are often smuggled out of the country to countries such as Hong Kong and China.

As the province's coastal waters suffer ecological effects from the depletion of abalone‚ local communities may also be suffering from an influx of drugs. According to the TimesLIVE article cheap methamphetamines are allegedly the standard unit of trade for poached abalone. In a statement issued on Tuesday police spokesman Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said officers confiscated abalone valued at about R1-million which was found in a bakkie in Mfuleni.

"A preliminary investigation that was conducted on the scene also revealed that the Toyota Hilux bakkie had been reported as hijacked in Kleinvlei during this month. Three men aged 36‚ 42 and 46 years‚ were arrested and‚ once charged‚ will appear in the Blue Downs Magistrate’s Court.

Protecting our marine resources remains at the core of the SAPS' mandate‚'' said Rwexana. On Friday officers confiscated abalone worth R5-million in Caledon and last week abalone valued at R5-million were found at an illegal processing facility in Brackenfell.

- Tafoya is on an SIT Study Abroad programme. She wrote this story in association with Round Earth Media.