By Thupeyo Muleya
South Africa’s serious organised crime busting unit, the Hawks has arrested one suspect believed to be part of a gang specialising in stealing and smuggling vehicles into Zimbabwe over the Limpopo River.
Hawks Limpopo spokesperson, Captain Matimba Maluleke said that the man age 37 whose identity was yet to be released was arrested at Hendrik Verwoerd tunnel near Musina on Friday morning following a high speed chase.
He said one suspect managed to get away and that they were still pursuing him.
“A joint operation by the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation unit and crime intelligence has resulted in the arrest of a 37-year-old suspect believed to be linked to a cross border stolen vehicles smuggling syndicate.
“The Hawks acted swiftly on intelligence received regarding two vehicles (Ford Everest and a Chevrolet Cruze) that were allegedly stolen in Gauteng province en-route to Zimbabwe.
“The vehicles were recovered at Hendrik Verwoerd tunnel near Musina on Friday morning following a high speed chase. One suspect managed to get away,” said Capt Maluleke.
He said investigations to ascertain the origins of the recovered vehicles were underway.
Capt Maluleke said incidents of cross border car theft and smuggling were rife which has seen them crafting a raft of strategies to reduce the vice.
In the last six months Zimbabwean and South African security agents recovered over 40 stolen vehicles along the boundary line.
The Herald is reliably informed that the cars are destined for Tanzania and Malawi, while others find their way to the local Zimbabwean market.
In March this year a man believed to be the racket’s the kingpin, Frank Dube (31) was arrested at the Westgate Magistrate Court, while attending the court on a different charge of theft of a motor vehicle.
Dube is suspected to have led a syndicate that stole a fleet of new Ford Ranger cars at a car dealership in Phalaborwa in December 2017. The Chronicle