Various tactical forces descending on the vessel where 973 blocks of compressed cocaine (estimated at R583 million) were found. Picture: SAPS Supplied
Various tactical forces descending on the vessel where 973 blocks of compressed cocaine (estimated at R583 million) were found. Picture: SAPS Supplied

Crime fighters ’over the moon’ with R583m cocaine bust in Saldanha

By Francesca Villette Time of article published Mar 3, 2021

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Cape Town - Crime fighters are “over the moon“ after police foiled a multimillion rand cocaine operation on the Cape West Coast in which 10 suspects were arrested.

During the operation on Monday night, police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said officers seized 973 blocks of compressed cocaine estimated to be worth R583 million from a fishing vessel off the Saldanha coast.

The suspects, four Bulgarian and six from Myanmar, are expected in court in Vredenberg soon.

“In an extensive operation led by Western Cape organised crime narcotics unit detectives comprising various tactical operational units, police seized a massive cocaine haul from a fishing vessel off the Saldanha coast on Monday evening.

“The intelligence-driven, evening operation saw various tactical forces descending on the vessel where 973 blocks of compressed cocaine (estimated at R583m) were found in three compartments of the vessel. Ten suspects, four of Bulgarian descent and six from Myanmar were subsequently arrested on charges of dealing in drugs. They are expected to appear in court in Vredenburg soon. Further investigations continue as the detectives determine the origins as well as the intended destination of the consignment.

“SAPS management has hailed the find as a step in the right direction in efforts to deal with the illicit drug trade,” Potelwa said.

Langebaan Community Police Forum (CPF) chairperson Peter Lindenberg praised police for the bust, saying unlawful activity on the water was happening too frequently.

He said families were being destroyed by the illicit cocaine trade.

“We are very happy, we have been suggesting authorities carry out more operations on the water for a while.

“We hope the perpetrators are not given any sympathy. The trade has wrecked and is wrecking families apart. We are over the moon with the massive bust,” said Lindenberg

The Saldanha Bay Municipality referred requests for comment back to the police, while the Transnet National Ports Authority did not respond to requests for comment.

Cape Times

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