4 international abalone smugglers found guilty

2017-01-20 22:00
Abalone. (City of Cape Town, file)

Abalone. (City of Cape Town, file)

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Cape Town - Four men were on Friday convicted in the Khayelitsha Magistrate's Court on charges of racketeering, money laundering, fraud and contravening the Marine Living Resources Act, for smuggling abalone overseas through a licenced fresh produce export business.

Abri Filipe Bucchianeri, 30, Cecil George Kruger, 63, Sean Kruger, 32, and Busobenkosi Matera, 34, were found guilty of "intricate planning and continuous looting, storing, and exporting of abalone overseas" through Virdon Trading CC, Hawks spokesperson Captain Lloyd Ramovha said.

"The entity's operations were brought to an abrupt end when the Hawks pounced on Bucchianeri and Kruger in a search and seizure operation at their Vredenburg premises in July 2010. About 77 292 units of abalone weighing 7065.83 kg - valued at approximately R20m - and various equipment were seized."

Further investigation led to the arrest of the other two as well as three Chinese nationals - Zhi Cheng Wen, Jason Ho and Wei Lin - who have since been sentenced to three years direct imprisonment following a plea bargain.

Bucchianeri, Cecil Kruger and Sean Kruger were all found guilty on 21 charges.

Matera was found guilty on seven charges.

They will be sentenced on February 23.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime
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