About 1,7kg of cocaine was found in hidden compartments of three new handbags during a search at OR Tambo International Airport this week. Picture: Supplied/SARS
Johannesburg – Customs officials confiscated 13 kilograms of cocaine with an estimated street value of R3.6 million in two separate incidents at the Oliver Tambo International Airport this week.

The South African Revenue Service (Sars) said in a statement on Thursday that in both cases, on May 7 and 8, the drugs were found after customs officials stopped and engaged passengers from incoming flights from South America.

The luggage of two specific passengers were identified for further scrutiny, scanned by the Customs Baggage scanner and brought to the Customs search area for additional physical searches in the presence of the passengers.

"In the first incident, on Sunday, May 7, cocaine weighing 1,7kg was found in hidden compartments inside three new handbags in the luggage of a female traveller, after a narcotics detective dog reacted positively to the luggage."

"In the second incident, on Monday, the luggage of a female traveller was physically searched after the scanner revealed a suspicious image. A Customs official opened a tin of canned fruit found inside the luggage and a powdery substance was found inside that tested positive for cocaine. Ten tins weighing 6,8kg (including the tins) were handed over to the South African Police Service."

Both passengers were also handed over to police.