Elephant tusks valued at about R3 million, abalone, sea cucumber, ivory jewellery and drugs were confiscated from a flat in Penzance Street, New Redruth on Sunday, May 8.
This follows more than a week’s surveillance of criminal activity at a house in Collett Street by members of CPS Security’s tactical team. On Sunday the team noticed suspicious movements and called for back-up from EMPD (Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department) and SAPS.
With the assistance of EMPD’s Crime Task Team the house was raided and a cookhouse for the processing of abalone was discovered.
In addition, they also found one vehicle, which was confirmed to be have been stolen in 2010 in Sandton, Johannesburg.
The neighbours of the man residing at 12 Collett Street, lodged complaints with the CPS, who in turn alerted the EMPD Drug Enforcement Squad. According to the information received, the said house periodically emitted a stench that smelt like chemicals which made the neighbours uncomfortable and they feared it could be a health hazard.
Lieutenant Colonel Wilfred Kgasago, EMPD spokesperson said in a statement that while raiding the house, EMPD were met with a funny smell and evidence of pots and other items suspected to be used to cook something illegal.
A letter found in the house reflecting an address at a nearby block of flats in Penzance Street, gave away the 60-year-old Chinese man who claimed ignorance of all the evidence found at his Collet Street residence. On searching the flat in Penzance Street, 4kg of abalone, 6kg of sea cucumber, three elephant tusks and various items of ivory jewellery were found.
The elephant tusks are estimated to be worth approximately R3 million, the abalone R20 000, the sea cucumber R15 000 and an assortment of drugs valued at R3 000. The three elephant tusks were found in the boot of a Chrysler Neon.
Charges relating to the Sea Fisheries Act were laid against the suspect as well as for the possession of a stolen vehicle at Alberton police station. The suspect is expected to appear in the Palmridge Magistrate’s Court soon.
CPS Securtity thanked SAPS Endangered Species team and the EMPD Crime Task team for their help.