Big dagga bust on Lesotho border latest in string of border security successes


A cordon and search operation in the eMaswazini area of KwaZulu-Natal this week saw soldiers and police find 300 kg of dagga in an abandoned house.

The operation in the vicinity of the South Africa/Lesotho border is believed to be part of regular anti-crime operations conducted as part of Operation Notlela, the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) tasking in support of the national state of disaster to combat the spread of coronavirus.

In addition to the sizeable haul of the narcotic, valued at R39 million, a rusted rifle and four rounds of ammunition were also found.

According to the national defence force’s Joint Operations Division, in another incident a suspect was arrested with two 9 mm pistols, a magazine and 31 rounds of ammunition.

Meanwhile, the Hawks this week made their own big drug bust, arresting three suspects found transporting R87.5 million worth of heroin.

Officers from the Richards Bay Serious Organised Investigation, in collaboration with their Mpumalanga Crime Intelligence counterparts, discovered a 342.5 kg consignment of heroin when they intercepted a truck in Hluhluwe in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday.

The truck was coming from Mozambique via Swaziland to KwaZulu-Natal. Almost 250 packets of heroin were found hidden in a false partition in the truck.

Other recent successes recorded by police and the SANDF include Gauteng Traffic Police on 7 September finding two suspects in possession of SANDF uniforms in Johannesburg and soldiers and police confiscating 125 Mandrax tablets in Alicedale on 6 September.

At the beginning of the month, soldiers from 8 South African Infantry Battalion were conducting foot patrols along the South Africa/Zimbabwe border when they confiscated 42 master boxes of Remington Gold cigarettes worth R560 700 that were being smuggled into the country. At the same time, soldiers near the Beitbridge border post stopped a car with five master boxes of cigarettes worth R66 000. The cigarettes and the vehicle were handed over to the South African Revenue Service.

In the first week of September, integrated operations between the SANDF and police under Operation O Kae Molao saw 315 people arrested for various offences, including assault, illegal mining, property damage, theft, drug possession, robbery, rape, murder and the possession of illegal firearms. Gold soil, weapons, drugs and liquor were confiscated as a result of patrols, stop and searches, road blocks and visits to liquor outlets.

The South African National Defence Force assisted with several roadblocks as part of O Kae Molao and said other successes on the operation included the apprehension of 12 illegal immigrants, recovery of four abandoned vehicles, the search of 2 338 people and 1 146 vehicles, and the arrest of two suspects with R1 million worth of stolen cable.