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News: Operation USALAMA VI nets over 140 suspects and recovers goods worth millions across SA

PRETORIA - Operation USALAMA VI is the sixth instalment of disruptive multidisciplinary operations conducted simultaneously by 28 countries in Southern and Eastern Africa between 30 October 2019 and 04 November 2019. These operations were facilitated by INTERPOL at targeted ports of entry, borderlines and in-land with the aim of curbing transnational organised crimes such as the smuggling of vehicles, contraband, drugs, human trafficking and livestock.

This multi-disciplinary integrated Operation, code named USALAMA, a Swahili word meaning Security is being conducted annually and simultaneously since 2013.

This is an initiative of the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation and the Eastern African Police Chiefs Organisation Cooperation to conduct disruptive operations on cross border organised crimes at different ports of entry, borderline and in-land at their respective member countries.

The four day operations saw the arrest of people for crimes such as facilitating human trafficking, theft, possession of drugs, counterfeit goods, suspected stolen property, unlicensed firearms and undocumented immigrants among other crimes.

The police confiscated among other incriminating items, 20 vehicles worth over R15 million, 15 of which were being smuggled out of the country, and five that had been smuggled into the South Africa. Five unlicensed firearms, drugs such as dagga, mandrax and methamphetamine (tik) worth an estimated R579 000 as well as concealed and undeclared RSA currency with the total amount of R221 533 were seized during the course of the operations as well as counterfeit goods worth almost R4 million. Livestock that included cattle, goats, sheep and horses with an estimated value of R700 000 was recovered at the borderline while a pangolin which is classified under endangered species was also recovered.

A minibus taxi with 45 people suspected to have been trafficked into the country via the Beit Bridge port of entry was intercepted and the victims were handed over to the Department of Home Affairs for processing. The operations also extended to OR Tambo International Airport cargo department where undeclared goods were seized for further investigations, two tons of un-manifested cargo containing dried fish and fruits, spices and maize meal was intercepted and the goods handed over to Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for further investigation.

Fines issued for unroadworthy vehicles and for the contravention of Customs and Excise Act are valued at over R120 000.

The multidisciplinary team that operated in South Africa led by Divisional Commissioner for Detectives, Lieutenant General Tebello Mosikili, consisted of among others, Law Enforcement Agencies from the Police, Defence, Prosecution, Bureau of Standards, Regulatory Authorities, Immigration, Customs, Wildlife Authorities, Forest Authorities, Intelligence services and members from INTERPOL and Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation.

Source: South African Police Service

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