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‘Cybercrime kingpins’ arrested by Interpol and Hawks in Pretoria raids

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Two Nigerians, aged 39 and 42, were arrested in dawn raids by Interpol and the Hawks on Wednesday in the Pretoria East suburb of Equestria.

TimesLIVE understands the suspects are believed to be connected to Nigerian organised crime syndicates operating sophisticated cybercrime networks.

“The search and seizure operation by the joint team recovered electronic equipment, including laptops and phones, thousands of rand in cash, as well as an unlicensed firearm, in Wapadrand and Sunnyside,” said Hawks spokesperson Katlego Mogale.

“The two foreign nationals are alleged to be part of a cult known as the ‘Air Lords’ who are said to be rivals of the ‘Black Axe’ movement. The suspects will be charged, detained and extradited by Interpol.

“The suspects will be linked to online scams being investigated by the 419 provincial task team. This arrest is but one of several simultaneous happening in other countries tracing the suspects involved in online scams such as romance, investments, Bitcoin, employment and related advance fee fraud.”

One suspect will be charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

Sources said the individuals were arrested as part of a multidisciplinary operation involving years of investigation and co-operation between local and international law enforcement agencies.

The arrests are the latest in a crackdown on Nigerian organised crime groups, which started with raids in Cape Town in November last year, when the Black Axe or Neo Black Movement of Africa’s Cape Town leadership were arrested in a huge operation.

They and other alleged Black Axe members and Nigerian organised crime members arrested since then face extradition to the US on fraud charges relating to huge business e-mail compromise scams and romance scams worth hundreds of millions of rand.

Source: TimesLIVE

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