Johannesburg – On Saturday three people were arrested at OR Tambo International Airport after being found in possession of over 30kg of cocaine, worth an estimated street value of R30 million.
Two men and a woman were arrested in a joint operation by the police, South African Revenue Service, Airports Company South Africa, and airport security.
In the first incident, police acting on intelligence arrested a man and a woman as they arrived from South America. Police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said the woman was carrying over 21kg of a substance suspected to be cocaine in her check-in luggage, and the man, over 4kg, also of a substance suspected to be cocaine which he had strapped around his waist and chest.
In the second incident, the Hawks, acting on information, intercepted a 49-year-old Brakpan man at the airport, just as he was about to depart to Hong Kong on a flight.
“He was found with a little over 5kg of cocaine, also strapped around his waist and chest,” Naidoo said.
All the suspects were booked or had travelled on business class.
Naidoo said this was the second time in less than a month that an alleged drug mule travelling to Hong Kong with cocaine is intercepted at the airport.
“In fact, since January last year to date the joint team secured an average of 20 drug busts per month, including parcels coming through the mail centre, via courier companies as well as an average of one drug mule per week at the airport alone. These drug successes are an indication of the capacity and capabilities of the joint security forces to decisively deal with the numerous attempts to use the airport as a thoroughfare for drug smuggling. This clearly negates recent media reports that drug smugglers pass through OR Tambo International Airport undetected,” he said.
Naidoo added that intelligence work and information gathered by operatives helps police to easily detect and identify those trying to smuggle drugs in and out of the country.