The five ivory poachers arrested last June after attempting to speed away from a police roadblock along the Harare-Bindura Road were on Thursday last week slapped with an 18-year jail term each by Harare magistrate Donald Ndirowei.
The court heard that the five, Gibson (33) and Takudzwa Chihaka (21), Reuben Foya (26), Jonah Paraffin (38) and Tryness Mayor (23) were arrested following a high-speed chase with police in Marlborough.
In passing sentence, the magistrate said although the five convicts were first offenders, they had launched their criminal career from the deep end and, therefore, deserved a harsh sentence.
The court heard that Gibson, who was behind the wheels, sped off after being ordered to stop at the security checkpoint, prompting police to give chase.
The gang was arrested after approaching a dead end in Marlborough.
However, as the officers approached the vehicle, one of the suspects threw two firearms into a nearby water drain before taking to his heels.
His luck ran out when an alert security guard spotted him and called the police, leading to his arrest.
Police later recovered five unmarked elephant tusks, working parts of a G3, a .303 rifle serial number BSAP0173, a G3 serial number 826 and a magazine with 12 rounds of ammunition from the gang’s abandoned getaway car.