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POLICE in Mutare have arrested 32 Zimbabweans who were caught trying to smuggle 100 bales of second hand clothing worth over $100,000 from neighbouring Mozambique.

The contraband, police say, was destined for resale in various flea markets and second hand clothes shops across the country.

The smugglers were arrested Thursday midnight at a tollgate outside the city after police detectives received a tip off from whistle blowers.

Manicaland police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Luxon Chananda, confirmed that 32 people, who were travelling on different transport, were arrested at the tollgates outside the city. Of the 32 suspects, two were men.

“The bales were destined to different markets such as Harare and Gweru and Bulawayo,” said Chananda.

He said a Trip Trans bus travelling to Harare was stopped and searched by police details along Harare-Mutare road and 15 bales of second hand goods were recovered.

A Zupco bus travelling to Gweru was also searched and police officers discovered 18 bales that were stashed in boots and under seats.

A Toyota vehicle travelling to Harare was also caught with four huge bags stashed with second hand clothes and all the passengers aboard were arrested.

Police also had to give chase to a Toyota Noah which made an abrupt U-turn near the tollgate but had a tyre burst, leading to the arrest of its occupants.

The vehicle had 22 bales inside.

All the accused are facing charges of smuggling.

Smuggling is a rampant vice in the porous Zimbabwe-Mozambique border with state security agents patrolling the border also having been fingered in the smuggling deals.

Source : New Zimbabwe