THE DEPARTMENT of Environmental Affairs has welcomed the arrest by the Hawks of six men who are allegedly key members of a syndicate involved in the trafficking of rhino horn.
The six were arrested by members of the Hawks, supported by the Police, SANParks, the Department of Environmental Affairs SARS and customs and excise, as well as the National Prosecuting Authority.
During the arrest luxury vehicles, cash, animal skins and suspected stolen items were confiscated.
The suspects face charges of theft, conspiracy to commit a crime, illegal buying and selling of rhino horns, corruption and money laundering.
“This is a significant and important breakthrough, and is once again an example of the success of the Integrated Strategic Management of Rhinoceros approach adopted in 2014. We hope these arrests will have a serious impact on poaching within Mpumalanga, particularly the Kruger National Park and neighbouring towns, and the smuggling of rhino horn to Gauteng and the Far East,” said Departmental spokesman, Albi Modise.
The suspects aged between 30 and 56, include two alleged syndicate leaders, one right hand man, two police officers and a former cop.