Black refuse bags wrapped with tape and abandoned near the Lebombo Border Post in Mpumalanga yielded counterfeit sneakers worth more than R3 million on Saturday, Lowvelder reports.
According to Sergeant Gerald Sedibe of Mpumalanga SAPS, a passerby spotted the bags in the bush next to the N4 and alerted the police. The bags contained various brands of counterfeit sneakers.
No suspects have been identified yet.
Two days later, police in Piet Retief stopped three vehicles loaded with counterfeit clothing and sneakers. Sedibe stated that police received a tip-off early on Monday morning that illicit goods were being transported from KwaZulu-Natal to Gauteng.
The vehicles were identified, stopped and five suspects were arrested.
Ricardo Martin (33), Ligolunkwu Obisili (37), Thabo Vusi Mthembu (23), Zenzele Mathe (31) and Sibusiso Ndlovu (33) appeared in the Piet Retief Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
They were remanded in custody until Tuesday, when they will appear at the same court.
Saturday’s finding was not the first for police in Nkomazi. Over the last year, law enforcers have intercepted three loads of counterfeit sneakers between Komatipoort and Mbombela.
On May 10, 2017, the flying squad stopped a Mozambican-registered maize-meal truck on the N4 near Croc Valley.
Police found counterfeit shoes worth more than R1 million and four suspects were arrested. Money was also seized from a convoy vehicle that police cornered after the first suspect’s arrest.
Two police officers from Komatipoort nabbed a second group of smugglers on August 16. They reacted to a tip-off regarding a truck full of counterfeit sneakers parked at the Engen filling station in Hectorspruit.
Counterfeit All Star and Adidas sneakers worth over R400 000 were found. Three suspects were arrested.
On October 3 last year, an officer of Phoenix Security and the White River K9 Unit nabbed a suspect and his load of illicit goods at Karino.
The security officer had received a tip-off regarding the truck, lain in wait near the Nkomazi Toll Plaza and called in the police when he spotted it.
Counterfeit sneakers worth more than R5 million were found hidden behind crates on the truck. The truck was reportedly heading to Johannesburg via Mbombela.