SEKHUKHUNE – Limpopo Provincial Police Commissioner, Lt General Nneke Ledwaba has welcomed the sentence meted out against convicted Rhino poacher, Freitas Antonio Xavier (57) who was on Monday 2018 May 07 sentenced by Lephalale Regional Court to R1million fine or ten years imprisonment.
The sentence emanated from a case that was investigated by the Endangered Species Unit of the South African Police Service. The case was reported in Lephalale in January 2017. The meticulous detective work that was carried out by members of the unit ensured that the accused ended up pleading guilty to the charges.
Police said prior to the apprehension of the said game farmer, the investigating team was led to the scene at the farm in a well coordinated operation and on arrival police recovered eight rhino feet in a cold room, seven carcasses in also in a cold room, one decomposed rhino carcass, two rhino hides (skins) and some bones dug from the ground at the same farm and two rhino heads in a cold room.
Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo, said the accused was convicted and sentenced on charges of hunting of specially protected animals without permit, possession/donation of rhino parts without permit and selling of rhino meat without permit.
The Provincial Commissioner has commended all members who were involved in the investigations and urged them to leave no stone unturned until all those who received rhino horns were also arrested.
Police said they were still following up on information that a helicopter was seen in the vicinity which raised the suspicion that the rhino horns may have been taken to other destinations. Anyone with information is requested to contact Warrant Officer Johannes Jurgens van Heerden at 082 8144 300