SARS’ customs division has made three seizures at the OR Tambo International Airport of catalytic converters and crushed powder from the core of a catalytic converter, valued at R21 million. According to the revenue service, the crushed powder is contributing to a new drug craze.
The three seized shipments intercepted by the customs dog detector unit weighed 2 649kg and were destined for Dubai, the United Kingdom, and Jordan. SARS said the catalytic converters and the powder extracted from the core of a catalytic converter were concealed in metal drums and bags.
SARS said the catalytic converter contains metals such as palladium, rhodium, platinum and gold. Through a refinery process, these precious metals can be extracted and used for the manufacture of jewellery, car parts as well as weaponry.
SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter praised the customs officials of the dog detector unit for their vigilance in preventing the illegal trade in substances which could be used in the manufacture of weaponry and drugs.
“The seizures are evidence of the dedication and commitment of SARS Customs officials to stamp out the trade in illegal and harmful substances,” said Kieswetter.
The core of a catalytic converter which cuts the emission of toxic gases, can be crushed into a fine powder and used in the manufacture of a toxic drug. SARS said this has led to a spike in the theft of catalytic converters in some countries.
The consignment was declared as Ceramic Catalyst Sample. The South African Police Service’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks) was alerted about the detection and the goods handed over to them for further investigation.
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