By Alex Mitchley
An undercover operation by the South African Police Service bared fruit on Friday when a police officer suspected of corrupt and criminal activities took the bait in the form of two rhino horn and was subsequently arrested near Ubombo in KwaZulu-Natal. Police spokesperson Solomon Makgale said two undercover officers fronting as poachers had two rhino horn in their possession when they were approached by warrant officer Christopher Gumbi.
“The suspect approached them, pointed a gun at them and took two horns before he fled the scene in his vehicle,” said Makgale.
“The officers followed him and arrested him a short distance from the scene.”
Both the rhino horns were recovered as well as 48-year-old Gumbi’s service pistol and a state vehicle.
Gumbi forms part of the Jozini Crime Intelligence unit.
Gumbi appeared in the Ubombo Magistrates’ Court where he was charged for armed robbery, possession of rhino horn and defeating the ends of justice.
The warrant officer will appear in court again on February 27.
In an unrelated incident in Mpumalanga, two Mozambican nationals were arrested after police received information that the two men aged 25 and 32 were transporting a rhino horn.
“Although rhino horn was not found, a Toyota Corolla and a CZ550 magnum rifle with 8 rounds of monolithic ammunition were recovered,” said Makgale.
“The firearm has been taken for ballistic testing.”
The two suspects are expected to appear in the Mahla Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
“It is clear the suspects are in all probability involved in rhino poaching,” Makgale concluded.
Rhino poaching kingpin arrested
In September 2014 the alleged kingpin of one of South Africa’s biggest rhino poaching syndicates was arrested on in front of the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court.