R500m worth of drugs seized at Durban harbour

08 August 2021 - 09:41 By shonisani tshikalange
Hawks spokesperson Col Katlego Mogale said 999 bricks of cocaine weighing 1,000kg with a street value of R500m were seized.
Hawks spokesperson Col Katlego Mogale said 999 bricks of cocaine weighing 1,000kg with a street value of R500m were seized.
Image: Supplied:SAPS

Half a billion rand worth of drugs hidden in a container storing truck parts have been seized at the Durban harbour, taking the total amount of cocaine seized since March to more than four tonnes.

Hawks spokesperson Col Katlego Mogale said investigations revealed the origin of these consignments is the Port of Santos in Brazil.

On July 30, 999 bricks of cocaine weighing 1,000kg and with a street value of R500m were seized.

This was during an operation by the SA Narcotic Enforcement Bureau of the Hawks from Gauteng, the national office and its Durban units, acting on a tip-off.

Mogale said no arrests have been made yet and investigations are continuing.

“The container was reported to be containing truck parts destined for SCANIA SA,” she said.

Several black canvas bags 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. The balance of the goods in the container was established to be truck cabs destined for the consignee,” she said.

Mogale said since March, over four tonnes of cocaine have been seized in SA. It is believed most of the drugs were destined for other countries while at least 20% would have remained behind as payment to the traffickers and for consumption in the domestic market.

Mogale said the case is believed to be linked to a similar drug seizure on July 9 of 715kg in Aeroton, Johannesburg, coming from Durban Port, also disguised as truck parts. 

“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 seizures were made at a depot in Isipingo, Durban, and an even larger seizure in Gauteng where four suspects were arrested.

Mogale said the Hawks were seeking assistance in locating a foreign national believed to be the mastermind behind some of these criminal activities.

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