Police seize R54m-worth of cocaine at OR Tambo

About R54-million-worth of cocaine, smuggled into the country from Brazil, was confiscated at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport on Sunday, police said.

National police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Vishnu Naidoo said police in São Paulo, Brazil, had notified South African authorities on Saturday that a plane heading to OR Tambo was carrying cocaine. “When the plane arrived at the airport, police searched it and found over 120kg of cocaine valued over R54-million.”

He said the drugs were destined for Durban, according to a label on the box in which they were found in the cargo section.

No arrest had been made, he said.

Naidoo said it was not the first time that a large quantity of drugs had been confiscated at the airport, nor would it be the last time. “We have to continue be vigilant,” he said.

The bust was a joint initiative of the crime intelligence and organised crime units.

Responding to the bust, South African Airways (SAA) said its flights are constantly monitored in an attempt to stamp out the transportation of illegal substances.

Linga Moonsamy, executive manager of corporate security at SAA, said: “This is an important step forward in the ongoing fight against crime. Today’s [Sunday’s] successful intervention should serve as a warning to others who may be planning to use SAA’s operations to transport illegal substances into the country.’‘

Moonsamy said the bust was part of an ongoing collaborative effort between SAA, the South African Revenue Service and the police to eradicate the transport of illegal substances.

“Team members positioned themselves at the SAA Cargo international received warehouse before the flight landed today [Sunday] and managed to seize the drug shipment on its arrival,” he said.

A full investigation into the issue is under way.—Sapa

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