JOHANNESBURG: South African Revenue Service (Sars) customs officials have seized almost 200 kilogrammes of cocaine and almost R7 million in foreign currency in separate incidents at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg this month.
In a statement on Friday, SARS said it had seized 197kg cocaine and approximately R7 million in US dollars in two separate incidents at OR Tambo since July 5.
The latest incident happened when Sars Customs detector dogs intercepted 197kg of cocaine disguised as shampoo en route from Sao Paolo, Brazil, in transit to Australia on Monday.
Sars spokesperson Sandile Memela said three narcotic detector dogs searched the shipment and the positive indication by the dogs led to a physical examination of the consignment.
“After the shipment was identified, the goods were unpacked, under the supervision of SARS Customs officials. Upon physical examination the contents were found to be bottles of hair shampoo. It was subsequently discovered that the shampoo contained a white cream which dried up quicker than normal cream and also become powdery when dry. Narcotic testing revealed that the cream reacted positive for cocaine.”
The goods were handed over to the South African Police Services’ Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) for further investigating and safe-keeping.
In an earlier incident, on July 5, SARS Customs officials intercepted a male traveller from Beira in Mozambique, in transit to Dubai, carrying $501 332 (approximately R6 717 848).
The incident happened when the traveller, who claimed to be a businessman, failed to declare excess currency in his possession.
SARS Customs officials searched his carry-on luggage and discovered that it contained the currency in varying denominations. He was requested to complete a Passenger Traveller card before he was handed over to the South African Police Service for further investigation.