Syndicate busted in the Free State for selling explosives to criminals behind CIT heists

Police arrested three men and a woman in Welkom with explosives. Picture: SAPS

Police arrested three men and a woman in Welkom with explosives. Picture: SAPS

Published Feb 23, 2024


A syndicate believed to be selling and supplying explosives to criminals were arrested and are expected to appear in court on Friday.

National police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe said the explosives were allegedly being used for cash-in-transit (CIT) armed robberies, ATM bombing’s and illegal mining.

Police seized 40 explosives. Picture: SAPS

On Wednesday, three men and a woman were arrested in Welkom, Free State, in a tracing operation by the South African Police Services’ (SAPS) Eastern Cape Crime Intelligence, members of the National Intervention Unit (NIU) from Pretoria, as well as SAPS Free State Explosives section.

“The suspects are believed to be involved in a number of cases where explosives were used in the commission of crimes such as ATM bombings, CIT’s and illicit mining activities in the Free State, Eastern Cape, North West and Gauteng,” Mathe said.

“The suspects were found with 40 explosives and a number of explosives accessories.”

Mathe said during Operation Shanela police seized 11,481 explosives during roadblocks, tracing as well as stop and search operations since May 2023.

“A total of 173 suspects have also been arrested during the same period for the illegal possession of explosives.”

The four suspects are expected to appear in the Welkom Magistrate’s Court on Friday on charges relating to contravening Explosives Act 26 of 1956.

During the release of the quarterly crime statistics, Police Minister Bheki Cele said that 75 wanted CIT suspects were arrested during the last year.

He said high calibre firearms including rifles and AK47s as well as high performance vehicles that were used in the commission of these crimes were seized.

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