The Hawks Serious Organised Crime Investigation team, Crime Intelligence, as well as officials from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental Affairs, arrested four men in Milnerton during a search and seizure operation where abalone worth R4.5 million was discovered in January.
Renaldo Marcos Mucache,23, Boniface Albino Muchanga,28, Joshua Daniel Chaque,38, and Valton Beca,26, appeared in the Cape Town Magistrates Court on Friday, where they pleaded guilty.
They were sentenced for multiple counts of possession of abalone, fish processing establishment and contravention of the Immigration Act 13 of 2002.
They are to pay a fine of R300 000 or to undergo 36 months imprisonment, of which R150 000 or 18 months is suspended for five years on conditions that they will not be convicted of the same offences.
Hawks spokesperson Zinzi Hani said all four accused would serve a year and six months (18 months) of direct imprisonment should they fail to pay a fine of R150 000 each.
Hani added that 8893 units of shucked abalone to the value of over R4.5 million were forfeited to the State.