Four busted for smuggling contraband cigarettes
By Francinah Baaitse - January 8, 2018
Plans by four Zimbabwean men to make quick cash during the hard month of January were brought to an abrupt halt when police officers confiscated more than 2000 packs of contraband cigarettes from them at gun point.
Three of the men, aged between 24 and 35 were arrested Friday afternoon soon after dropping off from a Bamangwato Coach Tours bus at Rasesa village in the Kgatleng District.
The fourth suspect was to transport them in his motor vehicle to their destination.
The Criminal Investigative Department’s boss, Nunu Lesetedi who alerted the police further ordered for the arrest of the bus driver, who according to the suspects, was an accomplice.
When questioned at the crime scene by Lesetedi who had stopped them from running off, the four men revealed that they had smuggled the cigarettes through the Botswana border from Zimbabwe.
They further said they were on transit to South Africa where the cheap cigarettes were in demand.
Lesetedi who was off duty and traveling back to Gaborone from his holiday vacation stopped when he spotted the men with suspicious packages.
The cause of suspicion were the large boxes which were wrapped in black refuse bags.
“This is an issue of illegal trading. The goods were smuggled into the country, they were not cleared at the border, no tax was paid and so we have to keep them in custody until BURS (Botswana Unified Revenue Services) clears the matter.
The matter will for sure, be taken to court,” Lesetedi explained.
Some of the arrested men are illegal immigrants. What they told Lesetedi is that, they were headed for South Africa and were merely using Botswana as a quick passage for the illegal stuff.
Botswana fast became a prime route for cigarette smuggling syndicates a few years ago since the neighbouring Zimbabwe experienced economic hardships.
The smugglers are said to be especially exporting to Asian countries and South Africa.
Although some of the cigarettes are said to be smuggled through illegal entry points to Botswana, some are allegedly ferried using haulage trucks.
Some truck drivers allegedly work with certain corrupt officers at the borders to execute this kind of criminal activity.