The Hawks have arrested a rhino poaching ringleader, regarded as being high up the criminal value chain, and nine of his accomplices for their suspected involvement in 22 rhino killings in South Africa.
The arrests were made in an operation conducted in four provinces and included key stakeholders in Government and in the private sector.
The ringleader was arrested in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court while appearing on a separate rhino poaching case.
The Police arrested other suspects simultaneously across South Africa.
The syndicate operated mainly in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Gauteng, and KwaZulu-Natal provinces and is linked to the brutal slaughter and mutilation of 24 rhinos in state and privately owned game reserves.
These ruthless killings took place between 2008 and 2012 with two Rhino’s surviving the attacks.
In total, the syndicate illegally obtained 84 rhino horns and killed 22 rhinos valued at nearly R 22 million.
The 10 will appear in the Hatfield Court in Pretoria on Monday facing rhino poaching related charges like theft, fraud, racketeering, money laundering and the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
“We have been circling around this group for some time, in collaboration with other role players, to enable us to root out their activities.
This is the type of result one would expect when we all join hands against criminals. Well done!” said the National Head of the Hawks, Lieutenant General Anwa Dramat.