NORTHERN CAPE – Two foreign nationals aged (33) and (54) were convicted and sentenced by the Upington Regional Court on 21 July 2022 for four counts of dealing and possession of endangered species (reptiles).

Daniel Lodhe and Marco Drescher were arrested in November 2019 during an operation at Askham in the ZF Mgcawu District. The operation was conducted by the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation team together with Gauteng Nature Conservation team. The accused were released on bail after numerous court appearances. The duo were sentenced after a plea agreement with the state.

The accused both received wholly suspended sentences of two to five years imprisonment or R50 000-00 to R75 000-00 fine. Lodhe was further instructed to pay R350 000-00 to the Nature Conservation whereas Drescher was instructed to pay R100 000-00. They were both declared unfit to possess a firearm.

The duo were rearrested on another matter as soon as their case was finalised. The Hawks’ investigation positively linked the accused to another case where there was an attempt to illegally export endangered species out of the country via the OR Tambo International Airport.

They were charged with contravention of Endangered Species Act and will appear before Kempton Park Magistrates’ Court soon as they are taken to the Gauteng province.

Source: South African Police Service

News Reporter