Cabinet welcomes SA-British cooperation on drug bust

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cape Town - Cabinet has welcomed the international cooperation between South African law enforcement agencies and their British counterparts which recently led to the biggest drug busts in both countries.

Speaking after a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Government spokesperson Themba Maseko said this was "welcomed as a sign that the war against criminal syndicates was gaining momentum."

"We will not allow our country to be used as a haven for criminals," Maseko said.

Last week, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation or the Hawks, together with British law enforcement agencies, successfully seized drugs worth more than R500 million, in Durban.

The bust led to the arrest of two South Africans and two British citizens in connection with what is believed be the biggest drug seizure in the country.

According to police, the drugs were destined for the United Kingdom and were confiscated after a tip-off from the British police. The suspects have been charged with drug trafficking.

Recently, media reported that more than 150kg of heroin was intercepted at London's Heathrow International Airport after arriving on a flight from South Africa.

An investigation by the British Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) led officers to an address in Dartford, Kent, where a further 80kg of the Class A drug was discovered.

A man was subsequently arrested - and the trail leads back to South Africa and to the coastal city of Durban where 8000kg of cannabis and 115kg of heroin were found in a warehouse.

The Hawks had reported that the London and Durban drugs consignments are believed to belong to the same syndicate.