File picture: Skyler Reid

Joannesburg - Gauteng police were on a mission to combat crime in and around the OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA), making two major busts over the weekend.  

In a breakthrough, police arrested two suspects and seized drugs and rhino horns worth over R6 million in two separate incidents. 

This crime fighting effort was led by a multi-disciplinary team from SAPS, SARS, the Department of Home Affairs, Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) and other stakeholders.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said on Friday, a man was arrested after he was found to be in possession of five rhino horns that had been concealed in his luggage. 

Customs officers made the discovery following a tip-off about a suspicious bag that was bound for Hong Kong.

Naidoo confirmed that the passenger's bag was searched and five rhino horns were found wrapped in foil. The suspect was immediately arrested. 

He added: “We don't want to give a value (of the rhino horns) at this stage because it must go through analysis but its quite a substantial amount of money. 

"The suspect has not appeared in court yet but hopefully, he will appear later today [Monday].”

The horns were handed over to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks) for further investigation.

Meanwhile on Saturday, search conducted on a flight from Sao Paolo resulted in the arrest of a passenger, who was found with cocaine in his luggage.

"A male Brazilian passenger was found in possession of cocaine blocks in his luggage. Officials discovered that he had no tags on his luggage. He was taken to the common search area where it was discovered that the bag contained black blocks.”

The consignment was estimated to be worth R5 million.

A further search of the same aircraft was conducted, and two socks containing "cocaine bullets" were found in the toilet. 

Police confirmed that no arrests have been made at this stage. 

“We have started to implement our new revised strategy, we are seeing phenomenal results in terms bothe the preventing and combating of crime in and around ORTIA. We are hoping that these success and arrests and recovery will send a clear message to other potential criminals of the capacity and capabilities we have started implementing,” Naidoo said following the busts. 

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The Star