Members of the Bethlehem K9 and Tactical Response Team arrested a 33-year-old suspect in Bethlehem for selling illicit cigarettes after finding the cigarette stash in his store, with an alleged value of R1 million.
According to police spokesperson, Colonel Thandi Mbambo, members of the K9 and Tactical Response Team responded to information which led them to Roux Street in Bethlehem, a stone’s throw from the police station.
“Members responded to the information and went to search the store, where they discovered a number of boxes allegedly containing illicit cigarettes to the value of more than R1 million, hidden under packets of chips. The store owner was subsequently arrested,” said Mbambo.
In a second incident on the same day, a 27-years-old foreign national was arrested for trying to bribe police officials. This comes after the suspect allegedly tried to pay-off officials to release his brother, after the latter was arrested for selling illegal cigarettes.
“It is alleged that the suspect called the arresting officer and arranged a meeting with him at the police station where the suspect offered the police official R7000 for the release of his brother,” said Mbambo.
The suspect was immediately arrested and police confiscated illegal cigarettes, as well as the cash that was meant for the bribery.
Both suspects are expected to appear in court on Monday 22 June 2020 on the charges of selling illicit cigarettes during lockdown, as well as bribery.
Free State Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane, welcomed the arrest and thanked members for their commitment and hard work.