DURBAN - Half a billion rands worth of drugs were seized at Durban Harbour last month in an operation by the South African Narcotic Enforcement Bureau of the Hawks from Gauteng, National Office and Durban units.
Hawks spokesperson, Katlego Mogale said the team acted on information received which was operationalised on a container at the harbour.
Mogale said the container was reported to be containing truck parts destined for SCANIA South Africa.
The team proceeded to the said premises and established that Border police's initial investigations revealed that it would be a 'Rip on/Rip Off' situation, where the drugs would be removed from the container clandestinely and the container seal replaced.
"A subsequent search was conducted and upon searching the container, several black canvas bag wrapped in plastic were placed at the entrance of the container. Upon further investigation, it was established that the container was packed with cocaine bricks contained in the black canvas bags. A duplicate container seal was also found placed inside the container," she said.
The balance of the goods in the container were established to be truck cabs destined for the consignee (SCANIA SA).
A total of 999 bricks of cocaine weighing 1000kgs with a street value of R 500 million were seized.
"No arrests have been made at this stage and investigations are continuing.
Since March over 4 tons of cocaine have been seized in South Africa and most of these drugs would have been destined for other countries whilst at least 20% would have remained behind as payment to the traffickers and consumption in the domestic market," Mogale said.
This case is believed to be linked to a similar drug seizures of 715 kgs in Aeroton, JHB, Gauteng coming from Durban Port, also guised as Scania truck parts, earlier in July.
Mogale said during the seizure of the said consignment, four suspects were arrested including three police officials. Investigations have revealed that the origin of all of these consignments is the Port of Santos in Brazil.
She said two more seizure were executed at a Depo in Isipingo, Durban and an even larger seizure in Gauteng where four suspects were arrested.
"The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation is still seeking assistance in locating a foreign national believed to be the mastermind behind some of these criminal activities.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Brigadier Devon Naicker on 082 778 2818 and Warrant Officer Brittion on 082 778 2815," Mogale said.
Information received will be treated in strictest confidentiality.
National Head of the DPCI, Lieutenant General Lebeya appreciates the information from the public that resulted in the interdiction of these consignments from reaching the consuming victims.
"The supply chain has been severed. The focus should now be on finding the perpetrators of these crimes," Lebeya said.