Cocaine worth more than R85m seized at harbour in Port Elizabeth

Cocaine worth more than R85m seized at harbour in Port Elizabeth

Cocaine. Picture: Gallo Images.

The cocaine was found in hidden compartments in containers filled with bananas.

More than R85m worth of narcotics were seized at Port Elizabeth’s Ngqura Port Harbour over the weekend, the police said.

This after an intelligence-driven multidisciplinary integrated operation by the ports of entry team on a vessel from Ecuador, South America.

According to police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Katlego Mogale, the operation was conducted after information was received that two containers were suspected of having narcotics in them.

The intelligence-driven operation team included customs investigations, the K9 unit and border police, he said.

“The inter-agency teams worked together and ensured that the targeted containers were moved to the container depot and upon opening the containers it was found that the contents were bananas as described on the bill of lading and which also indicated that the container was destined for Cape Town,” Mogale said.

The cartons of bananas were physically checked both inside and outside of the container. Upon inspecting the rear refrigeration unit, a hidden compartment was discovered.

When the panelling was removed, 40 packages that tested positive for cocaine were found in both containers.

Mogale said a further two containers that were linked to the product type and packaging methodology were found on the same vessel.

“The team immediately decided to secure the containers. In the early hours of Sunday morning at around 01:00, a sniffer dog reacted positively to the same rear refrigeration panelling as the previous two containers.

“All role players jointly then removed the panelling and discovered a further 45 bricks, which weighed about 45kg, wrapped in brown packaging tape in both containers that tested positive for cocaine.”

A total of 85 bricks weighing about 85kg with an estimated street value of R85m were seized.

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