Crime Intelligence (CI) operatives of the South African Police Service on secondment to Buenos Aires airport in Argentina, with local police and Interpol, have arrested some 30 drug mules in South America who ere attempting to courier drugs to South Africa. A South African citizen also died in Brazil early this year after swallowing an overdose of cocaine, CI spokeswoman Colonel Tummi Shai says.
The latest arrest, last week Sunday, was a 24-year-old woman from the Philippines. “The suspect was found in possession of 3.05kg cocaine pressed in a false suitcase compartment,” Shai says. “The suspect was apprehended minutes before she could board on South African Airways flight (SA-227) to Johannesburg, scheduled to depart at 17.00 on April 3. The arrest was carried out during Operation Proteus.”
Shai added “Operation Proteus is an Interpol/CI project addressing drug trafficking in the South American region, with the focus on the South America-South Africa-Nairobi (Kenya) route “as it is commonly used by drug mules.”
SAPS National Commissioner General Bheki Cele applauded the various authorities for their cooperation. “The fight against cross-border crime is not only a priority for the South African police but for the South African Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (SARPCCO) and the International Criminal Police Organisation (ICPO-Interpol)”, he said. He further commended the SAPS Interpol liaison team and detectives for the manner in which they “are maintaining relations with their international counterparts to eradicate cross-border crimes.”