Three suspected drug mules appeared in the Kempton Park Magistrate Court today after they were arrested for drug trafficking at OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA).
The three — two men and a woman — were nabbed during an integrated multi-disciplinary operation at the airport.
In a statement, police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said: “In the first incident, members from the SAPS, SA Revenue Service, ACSA and ORTIA Security acted on intelligence and intercepted a man and a woman as they arrived from South America.”
The woman, he said, was carrying over 21 kg of a substance suspected to be cocaine in her check-in luggage and 4 kg of a substance also suspected to be cocaine, strapped around her waist and chest.
The Hawks acted on information and intercepted a 49-year-old Brakpan man as he was about to depart for Hong Kong.
“The man was found with over 5 kg of cocaine, also strapped around his waist and chest,” he said.
This is the second time in less than a month an alleged drug mule travelling to Hong Kong with cocaine was intercepted at ORTIA. On 12 January, Fiona Kruger was intercepted and arrested after she was found in possession of cocaine.
“Since 1 January to date, the joint team secured 20 drug busts a month, including parcels coming through Mail Centre, via courier companies, as well as an average of a drug mule per week arrested at ORTIA,” Naidoo said.
These drug successes, he said, are an indication of the capacity and capabilities joint security forces have to decisively deal with attempts to use ORTIA as a thoroughfare for drug smuggling.
“This clearly negates recent media reports that drug smugglers pass through OR Tambo International Airport undetected,” said Naidoo.
He said it was important to note neither the SAPS nor other department forming part of the joint operational team at ORTIA has been contacted for comment or confirmation in those recent media reports.