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Specialised detectives have seized what is believed to be the country's biggest Tik consignment, recovering more than R14-million worth of the narcotic at OR Tambo International Airport.
The SAPS Trans-international Investigation Unit and National Crime Intelligence Unit also seized other drugs, with a street value of R23-million, at the airport at the weekend.
Most of the Tik (crystal meth), found packed among bundles of spice in a cargo box on Saturday, is believed to have been destined for Gauteng.
The consignment was flown into South Africa onboard an SAA flight from Nigeria.
The small crystals had been wrapped in black bags and packed in a box marked with the address of a Randburg restaurant. There was no return address.
According to police sources, the business address is believed to be a front for a syndicate that smuggles drugs from Nigeria into South Africa.
Last night police declined to confirm information that a great deal of the consignment was destined for Pretoria.
The Western Cape accounts for most Tik users in South Africa.
Senior detectives fear this consignment is a sign that the drug syndicates are going all out to regain the Tik market, to which law enforcement agencies have dealt crippling blows.
Superintendent Devan Naicker said if analysis showed that the crystals were Tik, it would be the biggest seizure in South Africa's history.
"If consignments like this continue to come into the country, we have a major problem. It is reason to be seriously concerned.
"We have been working very hard over the past couple of years to put a stop to the trafficking and consumption of Tik, but this consignment doesn't help.
"Quantities like this could feed the Western Cape market for months," he said.
Naicker said the smuggling of such large consignments of Tik into South Africa showed that the crackdown on the chemicals used to manufacture such drugs was working.
"It has obviously hurt drug manufacturers. In the past they would manufacture Tik in Gauteng for the Cape Town market, but now they are being forced to source their products from elsewhere."
Tshwane Metro Police narcotics squad commander Mark Newham said Tik was becoming a huge problem in Pretoria.
"In most of our raids we are recovering Tik. It shows that the drug is here, although it is nowhere near as bad as it is in the Western Cape.
"But it won't be long before we reach the crisis that the Western Cape is facing.
"What is worrying for us is the violence that is associated with Tik. It induces aggression and is often used by gangs before they commit violent crimes," he said.
National police spokesperson Captain Dennis Adriao said: "We are conducting high-level investigations with various law enforcement agencies to establish where the drugs were destined for, where they were manufactured, who is involved in the syndicate and the whereabouts of the drug smugglers.
"We believe that all the drugs seized belonged to various syndicates operating in South Africa and abroad.
"What is positive about these seizures is that we have been able to detect and seize these narcotics before they can hit the country's streets," he said.