Woman trapped with rhino horns hidden among electronic items

The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa, has congratulated members of the Environmental Management Inspectorate, also known as the Green Scorpions, for their assistance in the arrest of an alleged rhino horn smuggler at OR Tambo International Airport on Thursday.

The 30-year-old Zimbabwean woman was arrested after suspicious items were noticed by private security personnel during scanning of her check-in luggage and reported to customs officials who, in turn, called the Green Scorpions to assist with identification of the items.

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The horns were found hidden among electronic items in a suitcase.

The arrest of the woman in connection with the smuggling and illegal possession of two rhino horns comes less than two weeks after the arrest of a 24-year-old Chinese woman at the airport who was in transit from Zambia to Hong Kong.  The Zambian national was arrested transporting 11 rhino horn.

The confiscated rhino horn will be subjected to genetic profiling by the Forensic Science Laboratory of the South African Police Service (SAPS) to determine its origin or possible linkages with other investigations.

“The successes we are recording in terms of the Integrated Strategic Management approach can be attributed to the excellent cooperation with, and collaboration between, the Green Scorpions, SARS, SAPS and other government agencies as they strive to combat the illegal import and export of wildlife products,”  said Molewa.

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