WESTERN CAPE – The Hawks carried out several raids at suspected abalone drying facilities on Monday in a project driven operation, resulting in the arrests of ten suspects aged between 25 and 56.

The raids were simultaneously carried out at six different private dwellings around, Durbanville, Plattekloof, West Beach, Atlantic Beach, Table View and Parklands, the said premises are reportedly linked to the ring leader who is amongst the arrested in this investigative project termed ‘Rambo’.

The properties were under surveillance by the elite unit for a while, following suspicion of illegal activities. The resultant search led to the arrests and confiscation of about 22010 units of dried abalone valued at almost R4.million, equipment, as well as two vehicles and undisclosed amount of cash.

Western Cape Acting Provincial Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Brigadier Mzwandile Ndlovu praised the investigation team for their splendid efforts.

“The onslaught on syndicates that continue to perpetrate abalone smuggling and related transnational crimes is on. We shall not slack in carrying out our constitutional mandate which also embraces protecting our environment. Perhaps it is time perpetrators gather that they are actually swimming against the tide”, he said.

The suspects will appear in the Bellville and Cape Town Magistrate’s Courts respectively, on the 15th of February 2017, charged for contravening the marine living resources Act.