R2,5 million drug bust at OR Tambo

File: In terms of legal procedure, the passenger and the detained narcotics were handed over to the Police for further investigation and possible arrest. Photo: Jeffrey Coolidge

JOHANNESBURG - A South African Revenue Service (SARS) Customs team at Oliver Tambo International Airport on Wednesday intercepted about 8,5kg of cocaine with a street value of R2,5 million from a passenger en route to Lagos, Nigeria.

“The bust was triggered by SARS’s scanning equipment. It identified opaque images in handbags found in the checked-in bags of the passenger,” SARS spokesman Sandile Memela said.

He said the man and two bags he had checked-in with were intercepted and brought to Customs for a mandatory inspection.

“The passenger was then taken to the common search area where further inspection of the bags was conducted,” said Memela.

“In one of the bags, four ladies’ handbags were found, each containing eleven packages wrapped in brown tape, containing a cream-coloured powder substance.”

Memela said a drug test confirmed that the substance was cocaine.

“This is the second Customs cocaine bust at OR Tambo International Airport in a week. In both cases the illegal narcotics were identified through scanning of luggage.

“SARS will continue to increase its capacity to tackle smuggling of illegal goods and substances through our borders by means of significant investment in advanced technology,” said Memela.

He said in terms of legal procedure, the passenger and the detained narcotics were handed over to the Police for further investigation and possible arrest.

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