Six men and a woman were arrested this morning on a plot in Hekpoort, between Magaliesburg and Rustenburg, after an illegal abalone processing factory had been discovered.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters confirmed the raid had been carried out by the West Rand Flying Squad.
“Our members from the West Rand flying squad received information about a truck transporting abalone from the Western Cape province heading to the place,” she advised. “They then acted on the information and the place was monitored until the early hours of the morning, when it was raided.”
Both fresh and processed abalone worth more than R4 million were found inside the factory building along with the drums containing liquid, gas canisters, several pairs of gloves, clothing items and shoes, a forklift, gardening spades and other items.
“Two unlicensed firearms and ammunition, [and an] undisclosed amount of cash were also recovered from the suspects,” Peters added.
It is alleged that the final product was destined for Mozambique. From there, it would have been shipped to Asia.
The suspects will be charged with illegal possession and dealing in abalone, as well as possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition. All seven are to appear in court soon.