JOHANNESBURG - Ephedrine worth over R1-million was discovered hidden in lace embroidery at the OR Tambo International Airport mail centre this week, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) confirmed.
“On Tuesday, 11 August, SARS Customs officials conducted random inspections at the ORTIA mail centre, where a parcel, which arrived from India and destined for Johannesburg, was searched, containing several items of lace embroidery,” SARS said in a statement.
“After further investigation, Ephedrine was discovered hidden inside the lace packages. The Ephedrine weighed 3,45kg in total, worth a street value of R1,035,000.
“The parcel and narcotics were handed over to the South African Police Service (SAPS) for further investigation.”
On 6 August, 2015, customs officials discovered 4,979 pairs of counterfeit shoes with an estimated street value of R3.9-million at the Lebombo border post.
The shoes were discovered when Customs officials stopped a truck entering South Africa from Mozambique for inspection. Documentation handed to officials indicated that the truck was transporting empty crates. Upon inspection of the crates, officials discovered the shoes wrapped in plastic inside the crates.
On 4 August, 2015, officials discovered 2,12kg of heroin, estimated at R429,451 when the laptop bags of two travellers entering South Africa from Swaziland were inspected.
On 29 July, at OR Tambo International Airport, approximately 13,3kg of crystal meth valued at approximately R4-million was discovered in the bag of a passenger arriving from Abu Dhabi.
The previous day, during an inspection at the mail centre, Customs officials discovered 3kg of Ephedrine, valued at about R900,000, hidden with leg pads used by cricketers, sent from India.
On 27 July, a woman arriving on a flight from Madagascar was stopped by Customs officers while departing the customs area through the “nothing to declare” channel. An inspection of her bags resulted in officials discovering 6kg of heroin worth R1.8million.
On the same day, customs officials discovered 2.5kg of heroin valued at approximately R720,000 while inspecting the laptop bag of a male and female traveller coming into South Africa from Swaziland.
“These are amongst the major seizures by SARS Customs, who implement daily inspections at all points of entry in an effort to foil the smuggling of prohibited goods and close the gap of illicit financial flows.
“SARS will continue to work with other law enforcement agencies to protect the country and its citizens by disrupting organised crime and reducing illicit trade activities.”