PRETORIA – The Hawks Endangered Species Unit have arrested three men for allegedly intending to sell rhino horns to an undercover agent.
The three Pieter Van Zyl 67, Marco Swanepoel (35) and Stephan Mylie (30) were arrested on Wednesday evening in Equestria, Pretoria. It is alleged that the three intended to sell five rhino horns and unaware that it was a sting operation, they were then rounded up by the Hawks members.
The trio were led to their hide-out, Van Zyl’s house, were a further three rhino horns were found and seized. The eight (8) horns are estimated to be worth over R800 000.
On Thursday the team went back to the same house as part of their ongoing investigation and were stunned to find a massive haul of almost 105 rhino horns, the value of which is yet to be determined.
Van Zyl – a well-known game farmer, alleges the rhino horns belonged to him. Despite that claim, the Hawks team is validating the alleged permits, issued by the Department of Environmental Affairs, as well take DNA samples of all horns and compare them to the Rhodis database at Onderstepoort.
Meanwhile the three suspects appeared at in the Pretoria Regional Court on Friday and Van Zyl was granted R20 000 bail while the other two, Swanepoel and Mylie were released on R10 000 bail respectively. The case was remanded until 12 October 2016 for further investigation.
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