Ivory Smuggling Gang Nabbed at Plumtree (Zimbabwe)


Sukulwenkosi Dube, Chronicle

Date Published

Three men have been arrested while a fourth fled from the police after they were found with elephant tusks at the Plumtree Border Post.

Isaah Nonzeri, 39, of Harare, Linch Mupfurutsa, 33, of Bindura, Shingirai Chitemerere, 26, also of Bindura and Rodrick Mupfurutsa, who is at large, were found with three elephant tusks which were hidden in an engine compartment of their vehicle.

The trio appeared on initial remand before Plumtree magistrate, Gideon Ruvetsa, facing a charge of illegal possession of ivory.

Ruvetsa remanded them out of custody to April 12, on $100 bail each.

Prosecuting, Stanley Chinyanganya said the four men were on their way to Botswana when they were intercepted with the ivory valued at $1,588.

He said when Rodrick realised that the police had spotted the package, he fled from the scene in their car and later ditched the vehicle and fled on foot.

‘’On a date unknown the four men including Rodrick who is at large connived and acquired three elephants tusks. They hid them in a BMW motor vehicle inside an engine compartment.

‘’On 27 March around 6AM, they arrived at Plumtree Border Post on their way to Botswana. They went through all immigration and customs formalities and then proceeded for motor vehicle clearance,’’ said Chinyanganya.

He said detectives ordered Nonzeri to open the bonnet of the motor vehicle for verification of vehicle particulars.

Chinyanganya said the police discovered a package wrapped with a duct tape in between the vehicle radiator and the engine.

‘’Police inquired about the package and Rodrick quickly jumped into the vehicle and drove away. The detectives gave chase but failed to apprehend him as he dumped the car in the border complex and ran away,’’ he said.

Chinyanganya said police opened the package and found three pieces of elephant tusks.