Drugs from India worth 4.7m hidden inside ‘religious ornaments’ seized at OR Tambo

Acsa’s flagship OR Tambo International Airport is the busiest airport in Africa, handling 21 million passengers a year. Image: Supplied

Police say South African authorities have brought this matter to the attention of authorities in India and are working closely to establish who the import agents are.

Drugs from India destined for South Africa, worth R4.7 million which were hidden inside “religious ornaments” were seized at the OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA), police said.

Police spokesperson, Colonel Athlenda said this was a result of “the dedication and hard work of a multidisciplinary team responsible for ensuring the safety and security of all” at the airport.

Athlenda said the drugs were intercepted on Saturday, 8 August.

“Preliminary investigations have revealed that the drugs worth an estimated street value of R4, 7 million were destined for South Africa from India,” Athlenda said.

The team was comprised of the integrated multi-Disciplinary security strategy collaborating with 10 departments and agencies at ORTIA, those being the South African Police Service – (ORS Border Policing, CI and DPCI) – State Security Agency (SSA), SARS Customs, Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD), Airports Company South Africa Security (ACSA), Department of Health (Port Health), Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF), the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco), Athlenda said.

“A detection team from this joint operational capability at ORTIA were following up on information provided by Crime Intelligence [CI] which led to the detection of the drugs weighing 21,4 kg hidden inside religious ornaments.

“While investigations continue, South African Authorities have brought this matter to the attention of Authorities in India and are working closely to establish who the import agents are and to establish the destination point in the country.

“No arrests have been made thus far and authorities are appealing to anyone whom may have information that could assist in this investigation to contact police by calling the Crime Stop Hotline Number on 0860010111 or download the MYSAPSApp on any iPhone or Android device. The public is reminded that they may remain anonymous and all information will be treated with the strictest of confidentiality.”

(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)

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