SARS seizes drugs worth R21m

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has seized narcotics with an estimated R21 million street value, it said on Thursday.

Narcotics busts of cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, heroin, cannabis and ephedrine with a street value of R17.4 million were made at the OR Tambo International Airport. Thirty-two kilograms of liquid crystal meth worth R9.6 million was intercepted around 1pm on Thursday.

The package was intercepted at the Johannesburg International Mail Centre and was destined for Centurion, South Africa, from India.

Collaboration between the Hawks and SARS Customs officers landed the second biggest of the seven busts - a consignment of 18kg of ephedrine, which is the principle ingredient in the manufacture of crystal methamphetamine and worth an estimated street value of R5.4 million - concealed in the luggage of a South African passenger on an incoming Abu Dhabi flight.

In the second incident, the scanning of a lost bag revealed a package containing a yellow oily liquid that tested positive for crystal methamphetamine, weighing 4.4kg and valued at R1.3 million. The package was en-route from Doha to East London, South Africa.

Meanwhile during random inspections at a courier company in the third incident, a SARS detector dog reacted positively to two packages en-route to Canada concealing 2.8kg of heroin worth R573 544.

A shipment en-route to the United Kingdom was also intercepted when a SARS detector dog reacted positively to a concealed consignment of 13kg of compressed cannabis valued at R18 200.

In the last incident, a random inspection by customs officials at the Johannesburg International Mail Centre resulted in the detection of 1.9kg of cocaine worth R573 098, concealed in shampoo and hair treatment products. The package was en-route from Brazil to Swaziland.

Meanwhile an illegal cigarette bust worth R3.6 million was made at Groblersbridge border in Limpopo.

"A masterful joint operation between SARS Customs, SARS tactical investigations and the South African Police Service (SAPS) led to the discovery of illegal cigarettes worth R3. 6 million this week.

"The stash was found in several false compartments of the tanker of a truck entering South Africa from Zambia," said the revenue service.

SARS thanked the Department of Criminal Investigations and the South African Police Service for their contribution to the success of these busts.

All consignments and suspects have been handed over to the South African Police Service for further investigation.

SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT NEWS AGENCY

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