Two yet-to-be-identified Nigerians were arrested for cybercrime-related offences during a raid conducted by Interpol and the Hawks, South Africa’s priority crimes investigative unit, in Pretoria on Wednesday.
According to TimesLIVE, a South African online newspaper, the Nigerians, aged 39 and 42 respectively, are alleged to be connected to syndicates operating sophisticated cybercrime networks.
The two Nigerians have also been claimed to be members of the Air Lords, a rival confraternity of the Black Axe movement in South Africa.
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“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 Katlego Mogale, the Hawks’ spokesperson, in a statement.
“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 happenings in other countries tracing the suspects involved in online scams such as romance, investments, Bitcoin, employment and related advance fee fraud.
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Mogale added that the arrested suspects would appear in court soon on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, access device fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering schemes.
One of the suspects will also be charged with possession of an unlicenced firearm and ammunition.
The Nigerians are also likely to join the growing list of Nigerian organised crime members that have been arrested and later extradited to the United States of America on charges related to business e-mail compromise and romance scams.
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