An abalone poacher died when he tried to run from the police and ended up in front of the trailer of a passing truck.
Two of his alleged accomplices were arrested.
Col. Priscilla Naidu, police spokesperson, says Cookhouse’s highway police were on patrol on the N10 late on Sunday evening when two vehicles caught their attention: an Audi Q5 and a Chevrolet Spark. The police officers tried to stop the vehicles, but the occupants sped away.
The Audi Q5 was eventually stopped just outside Cookhouse.
At this stage the driver jumped out of the vehicle and ran into the trailer of a passing truck.
He died on the scene.
Two other suspects were arrested at the scene after 43 bags (4 785 units) of abalone with an estimated street value of R3.8 million were found in the vehicle.
The Chevrolet Spark was later found abandoned on Cradock Road.
Naidu says the two suspects who were arrested are expected to appear in the Somerset East Magistrate’s Court soon on charges of illegal possession and transport of abalone.
A case of culpable homicide is being investigated regarding the accident on the N10.
Maj. Gen. Zolani Xawuka, commander of the Sarah Baartman policing area, says abalone smuggling is a major concern.
Xawuka praised Cookhouse’s highway patrol for their vigilance and intuition in pursuing the vehicles.
“Pearl poaching can have a significant negative effect on these endangered species; efforts to apprehend those involved are crucial. By arresting abalone poachers, our officials not only uphold the law, but also send them a strong message that illegal activities like this will not be tolerated.”