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NORTHERN CAPE – Tomas Chester Francisco (35), Mateus Betuel Novela (42), David Betuel Novela (41), appeared briefly in the Springbok Magistrate’s court on Monday, facing charges of illegal dealing in rhino horns, contravention of Section 57 of the National Environmental Management-Biodiversity (Nemba) Act 57 of 2009.

The trio was arrested on Friday, 07 February 2020, during an intelligence driven operation by the DPCI Serious organised crime investigation team, Stock Theft unit, Local Criminal Record Centre and Visible Policing Vioolsdrif port of entry.

Members received information regarding a suspicious vehicle that was standing 20km outside the Vioolsdrif Border post. Upon arrival, a search was conducted of the vehicle, and a bag containing two rhino horns was found with an approximate value of R648 000.00.

Suspects are remanded in custody and the next court appearance date is 12 February 2020.