WESTERN CAPE On Tuesday, 08 October 2019 at about 12:45, members of Stock Theft and Endangered Species Unit Worcester and Cape Nature Conservation conducted an operation on a farm near Ashton after information was received that endangered plant species were in a vehicle travelling on the R60 between Ashton and Robertson.

The members spotted the vehicle as described (a Ford Ecosport) and stopped it. Two occupants were found in the vehicle and when the members searched it they found three wine boxes that were sealed with tape as well as a plastic bag containing cactus plants. When counted 60 397 Conophytum plants worth an estimated R2.2 million, however the overseas market value of these plants can be estimated at R24 million.

The members also found an undisclosed amount of cash, three cellular telephones and a laptop in their possession and seized it.

The two suspects aged 71 and 44 were arrested and they are expected to appear in in the Montagu Magistrates Court on charges under Ord 19/74 sec 42(1) for possession of flora without documentation and for possession of protected flora on Thursday, 10 October 2019.

Source: South African Police Service