Cocaine ship raided on Cape west coast — Bulgarians, Myanmar citizens arrested in R583m bust

02 March 2021 - 10:45
By Aron Hyman
Cocaine valued at R583m was seized from this ship.
Image: Western Cape SAPS Cocaine valued at R583m was seized from this ship.

Police tactical forces led by Western Cape organised crime narcotics unit detectives seized a huge haul of R583m worth of cocaine from a fishing vessel off Saldanha on Monday evening.

Four Bulgarian nationals and six suspects from Myanmar were arrested and charged with dealing in drugs during the late night raid. An “extensive” intelligence-driven operation saw tactical forces descending on the vessel where 973 blocks of compressed cocaine were found in three compartments.

Ten people were arrested after police seized nearly 1,000 bricks of cocaine worth R583m on a fishing vessel off the Saldanha coast in the Western Cape.
Image: SAPS Ten people were arrested after police seized nearly 1,000 bricks of cocaine worth R583m on a fishing vessel off the Saldanha coast in the Western Cape.

Western Cape police spokesperson Brig Novela Potelwa said the suspects were due to appear in the Vredenburg magistrate's court soon.

“Further investigations continue as the detectives determine the origins as well as the intended destination of the consignment,” said Potelwa.

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

National police commissioner Gen Khehla Sitole lauded officers for the bust and seizure of the drugs.

He said there was now a need to build a strong case against those arrested and ensure that harsh sentences were handed down to the guilty.

“SA should not be used as a transit point or destination for the illicit drug trade. We have a responsibility for removing drugs from our streets. This is a welcome disruption and huge blow to organised drug crime,” said Sitole.

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