R29m tik seized in two OR Tambo busts
Johannesburg – Customs officials seized tik (crystal meth) worth more than R29 million during two separate busts at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on Tuesday, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) said.
In the first incident, customs officials became suspicious when they noticed three suitcases marked with green tape on the carousel after they arrived on a flight from Lagos, Nigeria, SARS spokesman Luther Lebelo said. The baggage tags had been tampered with, indicating they belonged to three different passengers, but none of the labels corresponded with flight passengers.
“The bags were then sent for scanning, using the new high-tech baggage scanner, which was installed at ORTIA in July this year. The image revealed what seemed to be dense blocks inside the bags,” Lebelo said.
“When the bags were opened, customs officials discovered hairpieces covering several small, square parcels wrapped in foil and cloth. The 17 packets, which contained crystal meth valued at R18 630 000, were handed over to the SAPS.”
Customs officials at the cargo section of the airport were alerted and did an inspection of several shipments declared as hair pieces from Lagos.
“The shipment had arrived on 12 September, but the agent and client constantly delayed the inspection until today, when customs officials found two bags, containing back packs and sports bags, hidden amongst the consignment,” Lebelo said.
A SARS detector dog was called in and alerted authorities to the presence of drugs.
“After further inspection, false bottoms were discovered in the bags, concealing a crystal-like substance which turned out to be crystal meth,” Lebelo said.
“Altogether 35.4 kg of crystal meth, valued at R10.6 million, was confiscated. The case was handed over to the SAPS.”African News Agency