30 September 2015 – Illicit cigarettes hidden in trailer carrying horse at Beitbridge

Pretoria, 30 September 2015 – A vigilant SARS official discovered over R1 million worth of illicit cigarettes hidden in a trailer carrying a horse at Beitbridge border post on 28 September 2015.

The officer was doing inspections of trucks parked at the border post at about 2am when he discovered the one truck carrying a horse in the trailer.

The truck driver did not have a permit for the horse and was parked there overnight. However, the officer had a sixth sense about the truck and decided to do a thorough search. He banged under the bottom of the trailer and became suspicious as the sound was unusual. He then climbed into the trailer and discovered carpets hiding planks. The planks were covering a hole which contained several boxes of illicit cigarettes.

He then checked the roof of the trailer on the outside and inside and he realised that the level of the roof on the inside was not the same as on the outside. The roof was then cut open and a false compartment was found filled with more illicit cigarettes.

Altogether 105 master cartons of illicit cigarettes with a street value of R1 093 071 were confiscated.

Illicit cigarettes were also discovered at the Lebombo border post yesterday (29 September), hidden in the undercarriage of a taxi.

During a random search of vehicles at the main import gate, Customs officials discovered 100 cartons (20 000 sticks) of cigarettes wrapped in bags and strapped to the bottom of the taxi. They also discovered 320 pairs of undeclared All Star sneakers hidden under the taxi. The driver and goods were handed over to the SAPS.

And in another unusual bust, two Customs Detector Dog Unit members stopped a taxi which had illegally passed through the border near the Oshoek border post from Swaziland on 25 September. The taxi was escorted back to the border post where it was searched. Customs officials then searched the taxi and found packets of compressed dagga under the backseat, as well as 58 small packets of heroin rolled up in socks.

The suspect then tried to escape but was tracked down on a nearby farm. The suspect was arrested by the SAPS. The dagga was valued at R1218, while the heroin was valued at R2320.

These are significant seizures by SARS Customs who implement daily inspections in an effort to foil smuggling of goods. SARS will continue to work with other law enforcement agencies to protect the country and its citizens by disrupting organised crime and reducing illicit trade activities.

See the pics here.