Pretoria, 6 January 2016 – Customs officials busted heroin and abalone smugglers at two separate locations at Cape Town International Airport (CTIA) and Beitbridge border post in Limpopo yesterday.
Dried abalone declared as “car side mirror casings”
In the first incident, customs officials were tipped off by airline staff about a suspicious looking consignment at a cargo shed at the Cape Town International Airport.
Upon investigations, this turned out to be almost half a tonne of dried abalone valued at approximately R1 million.
Retrieved documents indicated that the abalone had been declared as car parts, specifically side mirror casings, destined for export to Hong Kong.
At the time of detection, however, the goods had not formally been cleared. The abalone was apparently delivered at the the export department. The only documents that could be retrieved were the Customs clearing instruction and invoices stating Hong Kong as country of destination.
The case was handed over to the Police for further investigation.
In the second incident, at Beitbridge in Limpopo, customs inspectors intercepted 4200 heroin capsules from a female suspected of being a drug mule travelling from the DRC.
The confiscated heroin is worth about R314 000.
The heroin capsules were among approximately 10 000 pills with different brand names found in the traveller’s luggage by two inspectors working at the import luggage scanner. The sachets of pills were hid in bundles of clothing which were sealed with sticky-tape.
The French-speaking suspect could be interviewed due to the presence of a SARS festive volunteer with translation skills. The suspect claimed that she was recruited on Facebook by two unknown women who promised her good profits and prospects of a good market for selling the drugs if she managed to traffic the goods into the Republic.
Altogether 960 sachets, each containing ten capsules, were found in her luggage. The pills included the following trade names: Tetraciclina (250mg); Tanzol (500mg), Amoxillen (500mg) and 70 Ampicilline (500mg).
All the types of pills were tested for possible illegal substance indication, although only the Tetraciclina capsules tested positive to heroine and morphine. All the other types of capsules reacted negative to the tests.
In terms of procedure, the pills were detained and handed over to the South African Police, who arrested the woman. The remaining capsules were also detained, and handed over to Port Health.