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Two sentenced for smuggling cheetah cubs

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The two were arrested after information surfaced regarding three cheetah cubs that were on sale in the Hartswater area.

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TWO MEN have been found guilty and convicted in the Hartswater Magistrates Court last week for being in possession and dealing in vulnerable protected species.

Ockert du Toit (45), and Stefan de Villiers (52) was arrested by the Hawk’s Serious Organised Crime Investigation unit during August 2015, after information surfaced regarding three cheetah cubs that were on sale in the Hartswater area.

 Hawks spokesperson Nomthandazo Mnisi said a disruptive operation was conducted and two cheetah cubs were found on a plot in Hatswater. 

“During questioning, the accused informed the team that another cheetah was kept at a Diepfontein farm in Vostershoop. Information was followed up and the cub was found in an outside building on the farm. Two rifles, a .22 and a 303 were also recovered,” Mnisi said.

Du Toit was sentenced to a fine of R5 000 or 12 months imprisonment whilst De Villiers was sentenced to a fine of R10 000 or two years imprisonment.