Cars and home of ‘cigarette smuggler’ seized in raid

The cars and home of an alleged cigarette smuggler with links to self-confessed tobacco bootlegger Adriano Mazzotti were confiscated by the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) in a dawn blitz in Port Elizabeth yesterday.

State advocate Warren Myburgh, left, with Ashraf Laher during the early morning raid at Laher’s Malabar house Picture: Fredlin Adriaan

Ashraf Laher‚ 39 – the alleged mastermind behind a multimillion-rand illicit cigarette operation in Eastern Cape – had his Malabar house and four vehicles worth more than R2.5-million seized by the state.

This follows the arrest of Ashraf and his brother‚ Araf‚ 32‚ together with four others‚ in October‚ after police seized illicit cigarettes worth R18-million at a number of shops and houses in Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage.

The Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa welcomed the seizure‚ saying that illicit trade was often linked to organised-crime operations including drug trafficking.

In addition to Ashraf’s cars and house being seized‚ Araf – who lives across the road – was also served with a preservation order.

The Herald

By: Gareth Wilson – HeraldLIVE

Source: TMG Digital.

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