VEREENIGING. -A bust of R3.4 million in illegal abalone (Perlemoen) was recently made by police during a raid.. A tip-off first resulted in the arrival of the Stock Theft Unit, which then called the K 9 Unit, Green Scorpion Health Environment Department and Police. The raid took place at Blignautrus Plot in Walkerville on Sunday. Three male Zimbabweans were arrested on the scene.
When police arrived, the three were busy cooking abalone in a huge drum. They had locked themselves in the house, which had painted-over windows. Inside, they had allocated a special room in which to cook the abalone. The room also contained a huge factory fan and large laundry baskets.
Police spokesperson, Sergeant Gertrude Makhale said the police were reacting to a tip-off from community members. Suspicious community members say they had been smelling an unknown substance for months. When asked by police the arrested trio, aged between 22 and 35, said the Chinese owner, a woman, only popped in every few weeks.
They told police that they had only been employed at the farm for two months. They are charged with dealing or manufacturing. Makhale said the suspects will appear soon at the Vereeniging Magistrates Court. When going to print, the suspected owner was still at large
*Abalone are marine snails. The meat (foot muscle) of abalone is used for food, and the shells of abalone are used as decorative items and as a source of mother of pearl for jewellery, buttons, buckles, and inlay. One species, the white abalone, has been listed as endangered under the general Endangered Species Act (ESA) and another, the black abalone, is a candidate species for such listing. (Wikipedia)