Cops and DAFF officials confiscated thousands of abalone worth nearly R5 million in several busts across the province in the past week.
All the suspects arrested are being charged for contravening the Marine Living Resources Act.
In the latest incident on Wednesday just before 4am, 19 suspects were nabbed in Hout Bay after being found in possession of 1 308 perly.
“Diving equipment, a rubber duck, a Ford Ranger and a Toyota Corolla were also confiscated,” says police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk.
The suspects, aged 18 to 38, are due to appear in the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court.
A few hours later, six suspects aged 31 to 48 were arrested when law officials swooped on an illegal perly drying facility on a farm in Vredenburg.
Hawks spokesperson Captain Lloyd Ramovha says drying equipment and abalone worth more than R2.5 million were also seized.
The suspects are due to appear in Vredenburg Magistrates’ Court today.
Ramovha says dismantling such facilities deals a powerful blow to the illegal perly trade.
“We shall continue with these raids unabatedly,” he adds.
On Monday, 11 941 perly worth nearly R2 million was confiscated near Sir Lowry’s Pass Village.
Two suspects, aged 36 and 31, appeared in court on Wednesday.
The 36-year-old also faces a charge of attempted murder for bumping a DAFF official with his bakkie.
And on Tuesday night, a 35-year-old woman was arrested on the R43 near Hermanus after 544 perlemoen was found in the boot of her car.
She was due to appear in Caledon Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
Also on Tuesday, in Gansbaai, cops confiscated nearly 10 000 perly which was found abandoned in three separate incidents. No arrests have been made.