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Truck driver nabbed while trying to smuggle 20 tonnes of stolen copper cables into South Africa

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Security agencies in Zimbabwe have arrested a truck driver after intercepting him trying to smuggle 19.6 tonnes of suspected stolen copper cables through the Beitbridge border into South Africa, Zim state media has reported.

The trucker was arrested and his South African registered truck impounded.

Owners of the contraband had allegedly made a false declaration to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) that they were shipping out seven tonnes of copper granules.

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According to one security official, the truck was intercepted soon after going through mobile cargo scanning.

The mobile scanners use density to verify the consignment against information declared on the commercial Bill of Entry.

“The vehicle was scanned and it imaged that a false declaration had been made. The driver, who has since been arrested, was followed as he was about to leave the country and the vehicle was taken for physical examination.

“It was discovered that it was carrying 19,6 tonnes of scrap copper mostly telephone and electricity cables believed to have been stolen from TelOne and Zesa. The contraband and the South African registered truck have since been seized by Zimra under notice of seizure numbers 014147 and 014145 respectively,” said a security official at the border.

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The source said the value of the copper was yet to be ascertained adding TelOne and Zesa were still segregating the cables to establish the exact quantities belonging to them. Police officer commanding Beitbridge district, Chief Supt Tichaona Nyongo said he was yet to get more details on the matter.

The smuggling of copper cables and related material is rife between Zimbabwe and South Africa, with those involved in this crime hiding the contraband mostly in false truck compartments.

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