Jean Sigauke in Plumtree
POLICE in Plumtree recently arrested two people for allegedly smuggling an assortment of goods from neighbouring Botswana destined for Bulawayo.
One of the arrested individuals was already on the wanted list after escaping a stop and search roadblock and leaving his passport on 31 December last year.
Officer commanding Plumtree District, Chief Superintendent Mesuli Ncube confirmed the arrests, saying the suspected smugglers were arrested at the five kilometre peg along the Plumtree-Bulawayo highway, where police had mounted a roadblock.
The arrested duo has been identified as Blessings Zata (38) of Matopos Road in Bulawayo and Advocate Marange (37) of Nketa also in Bulawayo.
“On 3 January 2023 at around 10pm the Bulilima-Mangwe District anti-smuggling team intercepted a silver Toyota Hiace registration number AFY0012 being driven by Zata, while Marange was occupying the front passenger seat.
“The duo failed to produce declarations or any documentation for their goods and were subsequently arrested. Zata had no passport as he had previously left his passport at a police roadblock after escaping from the Plumtree Road block team which wanted to arrest him on 31 December 2022,” said Chief Supt Ncube.
It is further alleged that after intercepting the vehicle with the two suspects another Toyota Hiace with Botswana registration number B390BMl then arrived at the roadblock but its driver refused to stop and attempted to flee the police check point.
“The police manning the roadblock had to fire three shots, the first as a warning and the second missed the tyre and hit the vehicle just above the rear wheel while the third one went into the left rear wheel puncturing it in the process.
“The vehicle still did not stop but fled towards Plumtree Town and upon realising that the police were catching up with them the occupants stopped the car and fled into the bush,” said Chief Supt Ncube.
Zata and Marange, together with the two vehicles were taken to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) premises where it was determined that the first vehicle had seven boxes with a total of 232 pairs of footwear, eight bales with 2 880 pairs of socks, two bales with 660 plain t-shirts and 12 bales with 2 520 school jerseys. The total cost of the goods recovered was pegged at 54 360 pula.
In the second vehicle the smuggled goods included 61 boxes of footwear amounting to 1 916 pairs, six boxes with 1 840 clothing items, two boxes of caps, two bales of fleece blankets and three bales of baby blankets, all valued at 97 000 pula.
Chief Supt Ncube said there is a need to step up efforts against smuggling which he said was negatively affecting the economy.