19 December 2012

Namibia: More Drugs Found On Suspected Smugglers

ANOTHER 10 kg of ephedrine, initially thought to be 'tik' (crystal methamphetamine), was confiscated from a Zimbabwean and a South African woman in Windhoek on Monday, bringing the total haul to over 20 kg.

Ephedrine, which is an ingredient in flu medications and appetite suppressants, is also used to produce the illegal drug crystal meth.

The head of Nampol's Drug Law Enforcement Unit, Deputy Commissioner Hermie van Zyl, told The Namibian yesterday that more of the substance was found in possession of the two suspects, who are expected to appear in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court today.

"When we gave you the information [on Monday], we only had about 10 kilograms of what seemed to be similar to cocaine, but was assumed to be tik. We continued our search and found more of the substance. Dr [Paul] Ludik [Head of the Forensic Institute of Namibia] tested the substance and found that it was in fact ephedrine," Van Zyl said.

The women were also taken for X-rays to determine whether they had swallowed capsules of the drug, but Van Zyl said nothing was discovered in their stomachs.

The total street value of the bust now stands at over N$10 million, considered one of the biggest successes of Namibia's drug squad. It is the largest amount of ephedrine yet confiscated in Namibia.

According to Van Zyl, the women allegedly obtained the drugs in South America, from where they travelled through Angola to Namibia, and hoped to hitch a lift with a trucker through Botswana to their final destination in South Africa.

On Monday, the police were tipped off about the suspicious behaviour of the suspects at a Windhoek guesthouse, and Van Zyl immediately sent out a team to investigate. A search revealed packets of ephedrine hidden in their luggage.

The value of the confiscated ephedrine seized from the two women is double the total value of drugs confiscated by Nampol this year.

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