This is contrary to reports that the culprits have been arrested and slapped with a P15,000 fine. The suspects escaped after the police confronted them, abandoning the contraband. The police recovered
133 boxes containing 66,500 cartons of Pacific cigarettes, 108 boxes with 54,000 cartons of Derby cigarettes and 128 boxes containing 64,000 cartons of Sevilles cigarette.
The total number of the boxes was 469 with 184,500 cartons. The police assumed that the smugglers were avoiding declaration of the boxes to customs as cigarettes are one of the highly taxed goods. It is said the goods are worth P20 million.
Apparently, buoyed by their success at smashing what could be one of the biggest smuggling rings between Botswana and Zimbabwe, Tshesebe Police Station commander, Superintendent Mojaboswa Mathitha said yesterday that they will intensify their patrols at the border to deter "those who have a propensity to commit such crimes".
The police have detained a 27-year-old man from Serowe who they arrested at Jackalas No 2. The man was apparently driving a truck, which was on its way to help one of the cigarette- loaded trucks that was stuck in the mud.
The other truck drivers managed to escape on foot. The arrested man took the police to the owner of the trucks who is being investigated.
Mathitha said the two men are likely to be charged with abetting smuggling. It is suspected that the cigarettes were to be smuggled into Botswana to be exported to Asian countries such as India and China.