Airports the most common way to smuggle drugs - Hawks

A total of 706 bricks of cocaine were found during a drug bust at the Port of Ngqura. Source: The Herald

No-one has yet been arrested and the investigation into the smuggling of cocaine on a cargo ship from Brazil to South Africa is ongoing. The containers containing the drugs have been seized.

This was the update following news yesterday (Tuesday) that the elite police unit, the Hawks, had broken an illicit drug supply chain from Brazil to India after uncovering 706 bricks of cocaine worth an estimated R700 million at the Port of Ngqura on Monday afternoon.

Hawks spokesperson brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi told FTW Online this morning that the bust had been the result of a joint operation between  Crime Intelligence, border police, the South African Revenue Service (Sars), the Criminal Record Centre, customs, the harbour master and the K9 unit.

“We have a unit dedicated to busting illegal cross-border smuggling and have been working with Interpol on this for some time.” He said it had been established that the vessel would dock at Ngqura before moving on to its final destination in India.

“The team decided to intercept the drugs at Ngqura,” said Mulaudzi, pointing out that the South African agencies collaborated with law enforcement agencies in all the countries and decided which port of entry was the best for busting the illicit drugs.

“Sometimes we are aware of a consignment but we let it carry on to its final destination as this can help identify the cartel involved,” he explained.

Mulaudzi said the possibility of an “inside job” could not be ruled out but added that “very sophisticated technology” was being deployed at ports of entry in South Africa to identify suspicious persons.

He said while it was “not uncommon” for drugs to be smuggled in cargo vessels, the most common way to smuggle them across borders was at airports.

Cannabis, mandrax and cocaine are the most common drugs being smuggled.

-Adele Mackenzie


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