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GAUTENG – Mashoko Manhondo 43, Joseph Masava (33), Jeffrey Ruzvidzo (29), and Hebert Dzingai (24) were sentenced to eight years direct imprisonment each for illegal dealing and possession of a pangolin by the Boksburg Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

The four foreign nationals were arrested during a sting operation conducted at Flamingo shopping centre in Boksburg North by the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation in Germiston, October last year.

Their apprehension emanated from intelligence received regarding a group of men selling a pangolin in Daveyton. An operation was therefore conducted where the accused met with the potential buyer.

The unharmed pangolin was handed back to The Department of Environment, Forestry & Fisheries which is responsible for protecting, conserving and improving the South African environment and natural resources.

The court also declared the accused unfit to possess firearms for being in contravention of the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (NEMBA).