Drugs worth R170mil seized at OR Tambo International

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pretoria - The South African Police Services on Tuesday made another major drug bust at the OR Tambo International Airport - seizing drugs with a street value of about R170 million.

Senior Superintendent Tummi Golding told BuaNews that the consignment of 565kg of ephedrine, which is a chemical used to manufacture the drug tik, was confiscated from an Emirates flight from Pakistan on Tuesday which landed at 2pm.

She said police found the powder in round bins in the plane's cargo hold, after receiving a tip-off.

"The drugs were hidden in more than 20 bags weighing about 565kg," Ms Golding said, adding that this was one of the biggest drug busts of its kind in South Africa in five years.

She said they had not made any arrests as yet and the members of the crime intelligence unit were tracking the delivery address of the drugs.

"We are confident that our team will be making an arrest soon as we have a Johannesburg residential address, where the drugs were destined for."

According to Ms Golding, the SAPS are also working closely with Pakistani police on the matter.

This is the third drug bust at the OR Tambo International Airport since the beginning of the year.

Meanwhile, Gauteng's Department of Community Safety anti-truck hijacking unit has made another breakthrough in the fight against crime when they arrested two suspects for being in possession of stolen laptops valued at around R9 million as well as a stolen vehicle.

The arrest took place on Monday night in Alberton following a tip-off that the suspects had robbed a computer warehouse of about 900 laptops in Kempton Park.

Formed in December 2008, the anti-truck hijacking unit is part of the joint Gauteng Aggravated Robbery Strategy being implemented by the Department of Community Safety, together with the SAPS in the province, aimed at combating armed robberies of residences, businesses and vehicles - commonly referred to as the 'Trio Crimes.'

Subsequent to the tip-off, members of the unit responded immediately and followed the suspects who were travelling in a stolen Nissan truck until it stopped at a filling station in Alberton.

The suspects appeared briefly at the Alberton Magistrate Court on charges of business robbery and theft. They were denied bail as one of them was also wanted for other crimes.