A ‘vehicle smuggler’ linked to a car-smuggling syndicate operating between Gauteng and Beitbridge remains in custody on charges related to a suspected stolen vehicle. Loaded Maguta, a 34-year-old Zimbabwe national, appeared in the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court on October 31, where he applied for bail. The police first arrested him in Polokwane after a high-speed chase involving a vehicle reported stolen in Garsfontein, Pretoria. The arrest occurred thanks to a tip-off. The tip-off led to a joint operation by law enforcement agencies and stakeholders to recover the stolen vehicle.
Brigadier Hlulani Mashaba, a police spokesperson, disclosed that Maguta was detained in custody until November 2 for further investigations. Authorities captured the suspect possessing a Toyota Fortuner 2.8 that he allegedly had stolen in Garsfontein on October 21. According to Mashaba, Maguta had connections with a vehicle-smuggling ring that operated between Gauteng and Limpopo at Beitbridge. He was also linked to the smuggling of a Toyota Hilux Legend 50 to Zimbabwe earlier in October.
The charges against Maguta include:
- Breaching immigration laws.
- Possession of a suspected stolen motor vehicle.
- Driving without a valid driver’s license.
Law enforcement agencies responsible for the arrest and recovery of the stolen vehicle included the provincial tracking team, Sekhukhune highway patrol (flying squad), and private security companies. The suspect had been attempting to transport the stolen car into Zimbabwe illegally through Beitbridge.
Mashaba explained the events leading to Maguta’s arrest, stating that an operation was activated after the team spotted the described vehicle. They attempted to stop it, but the driver fled. The pursuit extended from Kuschke Agricultural School until the driver halted near the R101 beside Lunds.
It was at this point that Maguta was arrested on charges related to the suspected stolen vehicle, driving without a valid license, and unlawful presence in the country. Further police investigations will establish whether the suspect is involved in similar cases.
Limpopo police commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembi Hadebe praised the team for their prompt arrest of the suspect and directed them to investigate the suspect’s modus operandi to prevent further incidents of this nature.
Mashaba highlighted that the fight against the smuggling of stolen motor vehicles continues to yield results, with another arrest made on October 31.
Picture: X / SAPoliceService
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