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CT abalone poachers hit with hefty sentences

Nearly 99,000 units of abalone, valued at about R20 million and various equipment were also seized in raids at properties in Vredenburg and Table View.

Gavel. Picture: SAPS.

CAPE TOWN – Four members of an abalone poaching syndicate have collectively been sentenced to 127 years behind bars.

The men learnt their fate in the Khayelitsha Regional Court on Tuesday.

They were charged with the exporting, processing and possession of abalone, as well as fraud and money laundering.

The Hawks have described the sentence handed down to Abri Bucchianeri, Sean Kruger, Cecil Kruger and Busonbenkosi Matera as a record in terms of the unit's war on abalone poaching.

The four were arrested in 2010.

Nearly 99,000 units of abalone, valued at about R20 million and various equipment were also seized in raids at properties in Vredenburg and Table View.

Hawks spokesperson Lloyd Ramovha says the company that was used to export the abalone, Virdon Trading CC has been slapped with a R400,000 fine.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)