Pretoria, 7 July 2015 – Customs officials confiscated more than R7 million worth of cocaine in a bag at OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) yesterday (6 July 2015).
The 26.48 kg of cocaine is believed to be amongst the biggest cocaine busts ever at ORTIA. The luggage and all its contents were inspected after the airline had failed to locate the owner of the bag.
During the compulsory inspection, SARS Customs discovered 19 compressed blocks (wrapped in a brown tape) and 7 plastic bags containing a ‘cream colour’ substance. A drug test was administered on the substance and it tested positive for cocaine.
According to the tag on the bag, the luggage in question was destined for London from South Africa. Experience gained from previous incidents suggests that the drugs could have originated from South America. It is suspected that such shipments are brought into SA by one passenger then handed over to another passenger on an onward flight to Europe or Africa.
The narcotics were detained and later handed over to SAPS Organised Crime for further investigation.
This follows the discovery of 40 000 Viagra tablets earlier in the day (6 July) by customs officials conducting an inspection at the Johannesburg International Mail Centre. The tablets contained in two boxes, were sent from Hong Kong. According to the declaration on the outside of the two boxes, the goods were falsely declared as plastic toys.
Both incidents are significant seizures by SARS Customs who implement daily inspections in an effort to foil smuggling of goods. 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.
Section 240A of the Tax Administration Act, 2011 (as amended) requires that all tax practitioners register with a recognized controlling body before 1 July 2013. It is a criminal offense to not register with both a recognized controlling body and SARS.