NELSPRUIT – High police visibility on roads within the province left three suspects with no choice but to abandon their possible planned trip. The three are said to have turned on the N4 Road unknowingly to the direction where vigilant police officials who could smell a rat, spotted their vehicle.
The suspects, two of them aged 36 and one aged 33, were pulled over by members of Middleburg Flying Squad between Wonderfontein and Alzu.
The trio were searched whereby three handguns were found in their possession. All suspects failed to produce firearm licences and moreover all the firearms had their serial numbers filed off. The astute members continued to search intensely inside the car and further discovered an R1 assault rifle as well as an additional handgun. The serial numbers for both firearms were also filed off.
Preliminary investigation by the Police further reveals that a blue Toyota Corolla they were traveling in was reported stolen in Witbank during November last year (2022) meanwhile the recovered firearms are an R1 assault rifle, .38 Special revolver, Star Norinco pistol, Taurus pistol and Parabelum pistol coupled with 40 live rounds for an R1 assault rifle as well as 57 live rounds for a handgun. The firearms will undergo ballistic testing to determine if they were not used previously in the commission of crime hence more charges could be added against the suspects as the investigation continues.
The arrested suspects who reportedly indicated that they were heading to the Kingdom of Eswatini before making a U-turn back to Witbank are expected to appear in Middleburg Magistrate’s Court soon facing charges of illegal possession of firearms with ammunition, possession of suspected stolen vehicle as well as for possession of suspected stolen mobile phones.
The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela was overwhelmed by this great achievement. “I am so delighted that our members managed to prevent possible armed robberies, possible heists as well as possible loss of lives. We are indeed paving a way for the residents to live in a secured and safe environment” said the General.