Daniel Lohnde and Marko Drescher convicted of animal trade fined R350,000

Daniel Lohnde and Marko Drescher, two German nationals who pleaded guilty to trading in and possessing endangered species, were punished in Upington Regional Court following the signing of a plea and sentencing agreement with the ‘State.

According to Mojafela Senokoatsane, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Lohde and Drescher were apprehended in November 2021 following a two-year investigation.

After the suspects tried to encourage the illegal sale of native South African reptiles in Rostock, Germany, a law enforcement officer from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) drew the suspects in South Africa.

“On Friday November 19, 2021, the two defendants met the agent, after agreeing by telephone to purchase 4 tortoises, for an amount of R2000. These tortoises – a Karoo Padloper and three Hinged Tortoises – are listed as specially protected species said Senokoatse.

Following the transaction, authorities executed a search warrant and detained the German nationals.

Police discovered a number of reptile species during the search of the suspect’s car, including 12 lizards of an unknown species, seven of which were already dead and the other five were in poor condition.

Additionally, 12 armadillo lizards, a Karoo ringed lizard and three giant ground geckos were discovered by police.

The German nationals were arrested and ultimately convicted of four offenses related to prohibited actions involving protected species and illegal trade in animals because they did not have the necessary licenses.

For four offenses, Lohde received a total sentence of 11 years in prison. However, if he quickly pays 350,000 rand to the DFFE, the prison sentence is completely suspended for five years.

Drescher was sentenced to ten years in prison. He had the same selection as his co-defendant. If he contributes R100,000 to the same fund, the penalty is deferred for five years.

“This fine will ensure that the Department can properly carry out its enforcement functions, to combat the illegal trade in South African succulents, with the Northern Cape being the priority,” the NPA spokesman said.

For four offenses, Lohde received a total sentence of 11 years in prison. However, if he quickly pays 350,000 rand to the DFFE, the prison sentence is completely suspended for five years.

Drescher was sentenced to ten years in prison. He had the same selection as his co-defendant. If he contributes R100,000 to the same fund, the penalty is deferred for five years.


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