Eastern Cape police members patrolling the Telle Bridge port of entry between South Africa and Lesotho on Saturday stumbled across several boxes of cigarettes and alcohol seemingly left behind by a smuggler.
Police spokesperson Colonel Sibongile Soci said it was suspected the person or people intended to illegally cross the border from Lesotho to South Africa with the items but got "cold feet" when they saw the roadblock.
The items - which included several cartons of cigarettes, tobacco and beer valued at R7 540 - were found at the Telle River near Qoboshane village and confiscated.
On the same day at about 19:00, while conducting daily operations, police officers stopped and searched a Toyota Corolla and its three occupants near the border.
"Upon searching the vehicle, four bags of dagga weighing 26kg valued at R39 000 were discovered in the boot. The suspects were arrested and the vehicle was confiscated. The suspects' ages are between 20 and 45," Soci said.
'Turned up the heat'
Eastern Cape police commissioner Lieutenant General Liziwe Ntshinga praised the good relations and synergy between the South African Police Service and South African National Defence Force and commended them for ensuring that the Disaster Management Act regulations were enforced.
On 20 May, two people were arrested for illegally transporting tobacco in Qoboshane village. Bulelani Mkontwana, 35, and Reuben Hossin, 31, were stopped at a vehicle checkpoint near a tavern and illegal cigarettes valued at R742 000 allegedly found in their possession were seized.
"We have just turned up the heat and are resolute in our efforts to rid our borders of crime and illicit goods. As we clean up our border control of criminal activities, so too we will act with the same zest and dedication in ridding our streets of drugs and illicit cigarettes," Ntshinga said.
"This is the first step in ensuring that our schools, youth and communities are safe. We will ensure that our borders are continuously and vigilantly policed."
Additional charges of contravention of Disaster Management Act regulations will be added to the charges of all those arrested, Soci said.