Gas bottle blast leads to bust of illegal abalone operation in Stellenbosch
Abalone with an expected street value of R900,000 and abalone drying equipment valued at around R60,000 was found in a Stellenbosch house when law enforcement officers responded to a fire caused by a gas bottle explosion early on Wednesday.
Col Andrè Traut said the fire department and the police were on the scene just after midnight at a residence in Cynaroides Road, Paradyskloof.
“On arrival, the fire brigade was gaining access to the house to extinguish the blaze. The police conducted their investigation surrounding the circumstances of the incident when they came across a huge quantity of abalone.”
According to a homeowner in the street, the stench in the neighbourhood on Thursday was “absolutely horrendous”.
Traut said two men, aged 23 and 26, were arrested for the illegal possession of abalone, and the police are hunting for a Chinese man in whose name the property was leased.
“Once charged, the suspects are expected to make a court appearance in Stellenbosch.”