Western Cape cop, gun dealer arrested in massive firearms probe

2017-10-10 17:04
SA police. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

SA police. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - A firearms dealer from Stellenbosch and a police sergeant based in Delft have been arrested as part of a massive probe into the illegal gun trade in the Western Cape.

Provincial Hawks spokesperson Lloyd Ramovha on Tuesday said more arrests were on the cards.

The illegal firearms trade is a massive problem in the Western Cape. About two months ago, a total of 33 firearms went missing from two police stations, this as gang violence was surging around the province.

It was then announced that firearms audits would be carried out at all the province's police stations.

READ: EXCLUSIVE: 'Plan' implemented to crack down on cops smuggling guns to criminals

On Monday, the 44-year-old firearms dealer was taken into custody at a shooting range in Stellenbosch during a compliance inspection by a task team.

The team consists of members of the Hawks’ National Bureau for Illegal Firearms Control and Priority Violent Crime, as well as the police’s firearm, liquor and second-hand goods unit.

Guns, ammunition and 'contravening' Explosives Act

"Eighteen various firearms and ammunition were seized from his premises," Ramovha said.

The suspect was expected to appear in the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

Ramovha said the man faced charges relating to the contravention of the Firearms Control Act, as well as the Explosives Act for the alleged illegal possession of propellants.

In another massive case, which focuses on the selling of firearms - meant to have been destroyed by police - to gangsters around the Western Cape, Vereeniging arms dealer Alan Raves and Rondebosch businessman Irshaad "Hunter" Laher stand accused in the matter.

They are expected back in the Western Cape High Court in February 2018.

In a separate incident on Monday, a 36-year-old police sergeant and a second suspect, 22, were arrested by the Hawks following a business robbery in Elsies River on Monday morning.

Police gun found at robbery scene

"It is alleged that at approximately 09:00, three armed suspects entered the store and threatened people with firearms. They then allegedly robbed them of valuables, including cigarettes and an undisclosed amount of cash, before they fled the scene on foot," Ramovha said.

"One suspect was apprehended shortly afterwards within the vicinity and a police-issued firearm was found in his possession."

Investigations into the robbery led members of the Hawks to arrest the police sergeant.

Ramovha said the sergeant had "apparently turned up at Delft police station in the afternoon to report that his firearm had been stolen in an apparent burglary at his house".

The sergeant and second suspect are expected to appear in the Goodwood Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

On September 29, in another Hawks crackdown on illegal guns, two suspects - Grant Veroni and Vincent Phillips - who work at the Bellville-based security company Skhosana Maponyane Hall Phillips and Khumalo, trading as The Security Group (TSG), were arrested.

READ: Hawks arrest 2 in 'underworld' security firearms case

TSG was twice before the target of police and Hawks operations.

Veroni and Phillips were arrested on charges, including fraud and others, under the Firearms Control Act.

A task team, set up by the Hawks to tackle serious threats in the Western Cape, is investigating underworld violence in nightclubs.

Earlier in 2017, a new grouping headed by controversial businessman Nafiz Modack, started taking control of nightclub security in Cape Town from a more established grouping.

In an exclusive interview with News24 in September, Modack said that firearms had been seized from members of TSG outside a city centre strip club in April, but that these members had been protecting him at the time.

On Tuesday, acting Western Cape Hawks head Brigadier Neil Oliver said: "We will not hesitate to act against individuals or entities who are in contravention of the Firearm Control Act. We are prepared to wrestle the scourge of firearms proliferation in the Western Cape to spare innocent lives."

For a detailed breakdown on what has been happening in the underworld and the massive firearms investigation, see News24's showcase Underworld Unmasked here.

Read more on:    nafiz modack  |  cape town  |  crime

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