South African Revenue Service (SARS) officials have confiscated over R7 million worth of cocaine in a bag at OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA).
“The 26.48kg of cocaine is believed to be amongst the biggest cocaine busts ever at ORTIA. The luggage and all its contents were inspected after the airline had failed to locate the owner of the bag,” said SARS.
During the compulsory inspection on Monday, SARS customs officials discovered 19 compressed blocks (wrapped in a brown tape) and seven plastic bags containing a cream colour substance. A drug test was administered on the substance and it tested positive for cocaine.
According to the tag on the bag, the luggage in question was destined for London from South Africa.
“Experience gained from previous incidents suggests that the drugs could have originated from South America. It is suspected that such shipments are brought into SA by one passenger then handed over to another passenger on an onward flight to Europe or Africa.”
The narcotics were detained and later handed over to the South African Police Service for further investigation.
The cocaine confiscation follows on the discovery of 40 000 Viagra tablets earlier in the day by customs officials conducting an inspection at the Johannesburg International Mail Centre.
The tablets contained in two boxes were sent from Hong Kong. According to the declaration on the outside of the two boxes, the goods were falsely declared as plastic toys.
“Both incidents are significant seizures by SARS Customs who implement daily inspections in an effort to foil smuggling of goods. SARS will continue to work with other law enforcement agencies to protect the country and its citizens by disrupting organised crime and reducing illicit trade activities,” said SARS.