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Plant poachers to serve jail time

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Two plant poachers will serve time in prison after they were convicted by the Springbok Magistrate’s Court of being in possession of protected plant species with an estimated black market value of about R100,000.

The protected species Conophytum pageae. Picture: SAPS

TWO PLANT poachers were sentenced to prison time by the Springbok Magistrate’s Court after they were convicted of being in possession of protected plant species.

Benedict Beukes, 28, and Quinton Steenkamp, 30, were arrested by the Springbok Stock Theft and Endangered Species Unit (Stesu) on December 1, 2020.

Northern Cape police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Sergio Kock said the pair were found in possession of Conophytum pellucidum and Conophytum pageae plants, with an estimated black market value of about R100,000, on the N7 near Springbok.

“The accused pleaded guilty to a charge of dealing in protected plants … and were sentenced on December 1 to eight years’ imprisonment, of which two years are suspended for two years.”

The Namakwa district commissioner, Brigadier Schalk Andrews, commended Captain Karel du Toit and his Stesu team for the “well-planned operation, meticulous investigation and outstanding sentence that was handed down to the protected plant poachers/dealers”.

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