A 42-year-old South African woman has been arrested at the Tocumen International Airport in Panama with 5kg of cocaine worth more than R4.5 million, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) said on Friday.
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Netshiunda of the Hawks said: “The woman was about to board a flight to Lisbon via Sao Jose and Madrid. She was searched and the drugs were found concealed inside her backpack; some were sewn inside her jacket’s hood.”
The woman, who was not named, will appear in court soon.
In another incident, 10 police officers appeared in two different KwaZulu-Natal courts on Thursday, facing corruption charges, police said.
In a statement, spokesman Brigadier Jay Naicker said the officers appeared in the Bergville Magistrates’ Court and the Ladysmith Magistrates’ Court.
“They were released by the courts on bail of R1000 each and their cases were remanded to 15 August 2016. These arrests are as a result of a long-term multi-disciplinary investigation conducted in the Bergville area to curb the smuggling of dagga,” Naicker said.
“During the investigation the investigation team received information that police officers were also complicit in the drug smuggling and were in some cases aiding the smugglers.”
Naicker said during the investigation several police officers were observed during dagga smuggling operations in the Upper Tugela and Bergville areas.
He said following the intensive investigation, the officers were arrested on Wednesday by provincial detectives and other operational units.
“These police officers who are aged between 30 and 55 were immediately served with notices informing them that they are suspended from the SAPS. All 10 of these police officers were stationed at Upper Tugela, Ematsheni and Bergville SAPS.”
KwaZulu-Natal provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni said it was “totally unacceptable” to find police officers complicit in drug trafficking.
“These arrests once again demonstrates that the SAPS is willing to act on police officers that are accused of committing crimes. As the investigation progresses, we can expect more arrests,” she said.
– African News Agency (ANA)