R50m cocaine find on Garden Route beaches

John Harvey

A STAGGERING R50-million in what appeared to be uncut cocaine was found on Southern Cape beaches on Tuesday and Wednesday.

This follows similar discoveries earlier in the Mossel Bay area.

On Christmas Day, police uncovered a black bag containing 25 packets of cocaine worth about R8.7-million at Hartenbos, while another bag, also containing 25 packets of the drug, was found at Pinnacle Point in Mossel Bay on Sunday.

Police spokesman Captain Malcolm Pojie said yesterday the latest discoveries on Tuesday and Wednesday occurred in shallow water between Mossel Bay and the Klein Brak River.

As was the case at Hartenbos and Pinnacle Point, the drugs were in black bags attached to blue plastic containers.

“The first of the two finds was made on Tuesday when a member of the public who resides next to the beach in Rheebok spotted a blue floating drum with a bag attached to it.

“The man … rushed to the beach and retrieved the bag and floating drum,” Pojie said.

“He immediately informed the police who found 25 bricks – weighing about 1kg each – of what seemed to be clean cocaine. In its refined form, it is estimated to cost about R1-million per kilogram.”

Pojie said the second find was made at 12.45pm on Wednesday.

“Another drum containing a bag with the same number of cocaine bricks washed ashore between the beaches of the Klein Brak River and Hartenbos.

“A holidaymaker spotted the blue drum with the floating bag and alerted the police.”

The suspected contraband is being tested at a laboratory in Cape Town.

Police suspect the drugs are from the same source. Last year, three men were found guilty in what is believed to be South Africa’s biggest drug-smuggling trial.

The Knysna Circuit Court sentenced Chinese nationals Xing Cuo Chen, 59, and Yuwei Yau, 32, to 20 years in jail and Shaun Packareysammy, 44, of Port Elizabeth, to 15 years for dealing in 1716kg of cocaine smuggled into the country through the Knysna Harbour. The drugs were believed to be worth R2-billion.

Cape Town marine engineer Bev Jones, 47, his assistant Thabiet Adams, 41, and Chinese national Zhi Zhong Liu, 52, were acquitted.

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