By Shaun Smillie
Rhino horns worth R17.3 million, some buried in a garden – that’s what police stumbled upon during a sting operation in Centurion, near Pretoria.
They arrived at a secure complex where they first found a car with a hidden compartment used for horns, microchip scanners, a bandsaw and hi-tech scales.
Two horns were in the car.
The following day, an eagle-eyed policeman noticed that soil in the garden had been disturbed, and six rhino horns wrapped in clingfilm were unearthed.
One of the horns was so fresh, it was later found to have been hacked from a rhino just a few days earlier.
The details of Operation Whisper, which bust the rhino-poaching syndicate, were revealed in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
Colonel Gerhard Vermeulen of the SAPS Forensic Science Laboratory told how he had arrived at the crime scene to find two rhino horns in a car.
They had been stashed in a hidden compartment, between the rear seat and the boot.
“If you had opened the boot you wouldn’t have been able to see it,” said Vermeulen. More....