An “anxious driver” arose suspicion at a roadblock between the Eastern and Western Cape, leading to the discovery of illicit cigarettes worth R200,000 hidden beneath a layer of pineapples.
According to police spokesperson Captain Malcolm Pojie, a Ford bakkie with a load of pineapples approached the roadblock at the Tsitsikamma tollgate as it was en route from Grahamstown to George on Tuesday at about 06:50.
“A vigilant member attached to the Knysna Dog Unit, who was deployed at the roadblock, noticed that the driver appeared to be anxious.
“As a result, he pulled over the vehicle and ensued with a routine search. As the member moved some of the pineapples aside on the back of the bakkie, he discovered eight boxes filled with 50 cartons of cigarettes to the estimated value of about R200,000 concealed under [the] pineapples.
“The 30-year-old man was arrested on the spot and the illicit cigarettes were confiscated. The suspect was processed at the Plettenberg Bay police station and issued with a summons to appear in the Plettenberg Bay Magistrate’s Court at a later date and time.”
Pojie said the illicit cigarettes were destined for distribution in George. “It is clear that drug dealers are still exploring alternative ways to commit their illegal activities in an attempt to evade arrest.”
In a separate incident, police confiscated 450 illicit cigarettes with an estimated value of R5,000 in Ladysmith on Friday. A 35-year-old man received a summons and was released after paying an R2,000 fine.
Dagga worth R85,000 confiscated
“In another incident on [Monday morning], members deployed at a roadblock on the R62 in the Langkloof area pulled over a Mercedes-Benz vehicle that was en route from the Eastern to the Western Cape,” Pojie said.
“Upon searching the boot of the vehicle, members found three bags filled with dagga. The dagga with a weight of 63.1kg is estimated at a value of about R85,000.”
The dagga and the vehicle used to transport the consignment were confiscated.
A 26-year-old suspect was arrested and detained at the Uniondale holding cells. He made his first court appearance in the George Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday on a charge of the possession of drugs.
Eden cluster commander Major General Oswald Reddy commended police members for their vigilance and commitment.