11 September 2017

South Africa: Drugs and Rhino Horns Worth Millions Seized At Ortia

Photo: abi.bhattachan/Flickr
Terminal at OR Tambo International Airport (file photo).
press release

During this past weekend, two suspects were arrested, and drugs and rhino horns worth over R6 million intercepted in separate incidents at the OR Tambo International Airport in the on-going operation into ridding the airport of criminal activities.

The interception was conducted by a multi-disciplinary team from SAPS, SARS, the Department of Home Affairs, ACSA and other stakeholders.

On Saturday, SARS Customs officials and K-9 unit conducted a full rummage on-board a flight from Sao Paolo and interviewed passengers. A Brazilian passenger was stopped after it was discovered that he had no tags on his luggage. He was taken to the common search area where it was discovered that the bag contained black blocks. Preliminary testing indicated that the drug is most likely cocaine. If further tests confirm this, the consignment could be valued at R5 million.

A further search of the same aircraft was conducted, and two socks containing "cocaine bullets" were found in different toilets. Preliminary tests also indicated that the substance is cocaine. No arrests have been made with regards to these drugs.

In another incident on Friday, 2017/09/08, a man was arrested after he was found to be in possession of five rhino horns in his luggage. Customs officers followed up on information around a suspicious bag that was bound for Hong Kong.

The identified bag and the owner were intercepted at the boarding gate. The passenger was escorted to the Customs search area where the bag was put through the scanner and images resembling rhino horns could be seen amongst the contents. A physical search of the bag was conducted and five rhino horns were found wrapped in foil. The suspect was arrested.

The horns were handed over to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (HAWKS) for further investigation.

The team's integrated effort and commitment is yielding great successes, both in the prevention as well as the combatting of crime in and around the airport.

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