In the early hours of Thursday morning, a multi-disciplinary security team successfully apprehended a suspected Israeli gang leader who had been hiding in South Africa for several years. To do so, the security team that made the arrest comprised various law enforcement agencies, including Interpol and various local police units. The team was led by Interpol South Africa, South African Crime Intelligence, Organised Crime detectives, and a special task force assembled to assist on the case.
The arrest was made in a house in Bryanston, a suburb in northern Johannesburg. A total of seven arrests were made, the most important being that of a 46-year-old male who is yet to be named but is believed to be the leader of an Israeli organisedcrime syndicate known as the Abergil gang. In a press interview, Police spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe said the gang leader had been on Interpol’s Red Notice list since 2015. The gang leader was wanted in Israel on charges of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Colonel Mathe stated, “Based on the information received from the Israeli police, this fugitive has been living in South Africa since 2007.”
Following the arrest further investigations, police recovered 3kg of drugs suspected to be cocaine or crystal meth, 19 firearms, six motorcycles (three of them had been reported as stolen), eight motor vehicles, one frequency jamming device, four drones fitted with cameras, two bulletproof vests, two money-counting machines, a digital weight scale and four GPS tracking devices and $40 000 in cash all seized at the suspect's home.
This was a major arrest for South African law enforcement, and it was hoped this would deliver a strong message to foreign criminals who see South Africa as a haven.
This was not the only international arrest that took place this week. On Saturday police tracked down two murder suspects wanted in Ireland for allegedly murdering two people and fleeing the country back in 2014. The police successfully tracked down the two suspects. The first was found to be Neville van der Westhuizen, a 40-year-old South African-born man who was found in a prison in KwaZulu-Natal and is already serving a 15-year prison sentence for another murder. The second arrest was Ruth Lawrence, an Irish national who was van der Westhuizen’s ex-girlfriend. She was arrested in Bloemfontein last month. She has already appeared in court on the murder charges and has been enrolled in court for an extradition inquiry. Van der Westhuizen’s extradition inquiry has been postponed to December 12.
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