A police officer was among five men arrested this past week in two separate incidents.
Several incriminating items were also recovered‚ police spokesman Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said on Saturday.
He said that last Saturday‚ the team had been alerted about suspected poachers trying to exit the east gate of a game farm in Limpopo.
“When they arrived at the said gate they found Captain Chris Du Plessis trying to escort three men‚ Martinus Jacobus Boschoff (32)‚ Magiel Frederick Klopper (61) and Joseph Mkhokha (42)‚ who had allegedly poached a giraffe.
“The team questioned the captain and on searching his vehicle they found one unlicensed revolver‚ 1 x 270 rifle barrel‚ one wooden rifle butt‚ approximately 70 rifle rounds and a 303 cartridge‚” Naidoo said.
He said the three suspects were found in possession of a 303 hunting rifle‚ a silencer‚ a telescope and more than ten 303 rounds. The licence for the 303 hunting rifle was confiscated. The Isuzu bakkie they were travelling in was also confiscated.
“All three suspects appeared in the Hoedspruit Court on Monday‚ 14 August 2017 on a charge of ‘removal or movement of any controlled animal or thing across land in a controlled area without a permit’. They are expected to reappear in court on 28 August 2017 after they were all released on bail of R800 each.
“The captain also appeared in Hoedspruit Court on Monday‚ 14 August 2017 as well as on Thursday‚ 17 August 2017 and he has been remanded in custody until 28 August 2017 for a formal bail application‚” Naidoo said.
“In the meantime‚” he added‚ “following the arrests on 12 August 2017‚ the team was led to a game reserve this past Thursday where they arrested the fifth suspect‚ a 68-year-old farm manager‚ Samuel Liversage.”
Naidoo said the farm was searched and 10 rhino horns‚ two elephant tasks‚ 11 rifles of which four were unlicensed‚ over 1‚300 rounds of live ammunition and over 150 empty cartridges were recovered.
All 11 rifles were confiscated to be taken for ballistic testing
“This suspect appeared in the Lenyenye Magistrate’s Court in the Tzaneen area‚ Limpopo on 2017-08-18 and the suspect has been remanded in custody until 24 August for bail hearing‚” Naidoo said.