Media release from South African Police Service (SAPS)
A convicted rhino poacher has been fined R1 million, or ten years imprisonment, by Lephalale Regional Court in Limpopo, South Africa.
The wealthy Limpopo game farmer, Freitas Antonio Xavier (aged 57), was arrested in January 2017 after remains of rhinos were found in his possession. He was convicted and sentenced on charges of hunting of specially protected animals without permits‚ possession/donation of rhino parts without permits and selling of rhino meat without permits.
“The meticulous detective work that was carried out by members of this unit ensured that the accused ended up pleading guilty to the charges‚” said Ledwaba.
“Prior to the apprehension of the said game farmer‚ the investigating team was led to the scene at his farm in a well-coordinated operation. On arrival the following were recovered:
• eight (8) rhino feet in a cold room
• seven (7) carcasses in a cold room
• one (1) decomposed rhino carcass
• two (2) rhino hides (skins) and some bones dug from the ground at the same farm
• two (2) rhino heads in a cold room
The police are still following up on the information that a helicopter was seen in the vicinity which raised the suspicion that the rhino horns might have been taken to other destinations. Anyone with information is requested to contact Warrant Officer Johannes Jurgengs van Heerden at 0828144300.