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SARS Bust Trucker Smuggling Cigarettes Disguised as Cotton Oil Cake at Beitbridge Border

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In a major operation on Saturday, May 20, 2023, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) Customs Division successfully intercepted a truck that was attempting to smuggle a large quantity of cigarettes.

The truck, which had been declared as carrying Cotton Oil Cake, was found to contain 440 master boxes of Remington Gold cigarettes with an estimated value of R9 million.

The vigilant Customs Officer grew suspicious when discrepancies arose between the declared value of the goods on the document and the actual load in the truck.

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Sensing something amiss, the officer questioned the driver, whose responses failed to align with the information provided on the documentation.

In light of this inconsistency, the officer swiftly redirected the truck to the inspection ramp for further investigation.

Upon unpacking the load, the Customs Officer made a startling discovery—hidden beneath the supposed Cotton Oil Cake were the concealed boxes of cigarettes.

Recognizing the severity of the situation, the truck and its illicit cargo were immediately detained and booked in the SARS State warehouse. Meanwhile, the suspect, the truck driver responsible for the smuggling attempt, was promptly apprehended and handed over to the South African Police Service (SAPS).

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Read | Gas tanker truck driver nabbed for smuggling R7.8m illicit cigarettes

Edward Kieswetter, the Commissioner of SARS, commended the officers involved in this operation for their unwavering dedication and commitment to safeguarding the nation’s economy.

He emphasized SARS’s strategic objective of making it increasingly difficult and costly for those who intentionally defraud the state, stating that such individuals and traders would be dealt with decisively and without mercy.

Kieswetter further affirmed that SARS would continue to collaborate with other law enforcement agencies in its steadfast efforts to combat criminal activities and ensure compliance with the country’s customs laws.

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