R85 million drug bust in Port Elizabeth


An intelligence-driven police operation over the weekend discovered and seized narcotics worth over R85 million at Port Elizabeth’s Ngqura harbour.

The multi-disciplinary integrated operation by the Ports of Entry team pounced on a vessel from Ecuador in South America.
In a statement, police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Katlego Mogale said the operation was conducted from intelligence that two containers suspected carrying narcotics were on board.

“The suspect containers were on board a vessel that docked in Port Elizabeth at Ngqura Port. The team including customs investigations, K9 unit and SAPS border police was activated and the process initiated to trace and secure the containers,” said Mogale.

She said the inter-agency teams ensured the targeted containers were taken to the container depot and on opening them it was found the contents were bananas, as described on the bill of lading, which indicated the containers were destined for Cape Town.

Mogale said cartons of bananas were physically checked and a rear refrigeration unit in a hidden compartment was discovered.

“Removing some panelling, the team discovered packages wrapped in brown tape. A total of 40 packages, which tested positive for cocaine, were discovered in the containers.
“Further profiling was conducted and a further two containers linked to the product type and packaging methodology on the same vessel. The team those as well,” said Mogale.

“All role players removed panelling and found a further 45 bricks in brown packaging tape, which tested positive for cocaine with an estimated weight of 45 kg. A total of 85 bricks with an approximate weight of 85 kg and an estimated street value of R85 million were seized,” said Mogale.