Former cop handed 10-year sentence for possession of 2 freshly cut rhino horns

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A former police officer has been sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment for the possession of rhino horns and an unlicensed firearm.

Sizwe Buthelezi, 39, was sentenced in the Durban Regional Court on Tuesday.

On 11 October 2018, while he was a member of the KwaMsane Tactical Response Team, Buthelezi was spotted leaving the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. Officers and wildlife officials in the area tried to stop him, but Buthelezi sped off in his vehicle. A high-speed chase ensued, and Buthelezi was eventually apprehended after losing control of his vehicle and crashing into a house, said Hawks spokesperson Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo.

READ | Three poachers get an effective 35 years behind bars for killing 3 female rhinos

"Buthelezi was found in possession of a hunting rifle with live rounds of ammunition, three hunting knives and two freshly cut rhino horns. He was placed under arrest and later charged accordingly," said Mhlongo.

Following an intensive investigation, Buthelezi appeared in the Ngwelezane Magistrate's Court. The case was later transferred to the Durban Regional Court for trial.

"Buthelezi appeared in court several times until he was sentenced [on Tuesday]. He was further declared unfit to possess a firearm," said Mhlongo.


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