South African caught with drugs in Panama

A South African woman has been arrested at the Tocumen International Airport in Panama with 5 000g of cocaine worth over R4.5 million.

The 42-year-old woman was about to board a flight to Lisbon via Sao Jose and Madrid‚ Lieutenant Colonel Robert Netshiunda said in a statement on Friday.

“She was searched and the drugs were found concealed inside her back pack. Some were sewn inside her jacket’s hood.”

She will appear in court soon.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) said last month there are currently 910 South Africans imprisoned abroad‚ “of which the majority are sentenced for drug-related offences”.

Locked Up Abroad’s Patricia Gerber told the Sowetan that the number could be as high as 3 000‚ as some of those arrested do not contact South African foreign missions after being caught.

The organisation said drug syndicates targeted nightclubs‚ parties‚ pubs‚ sport fields‚ gyms‚ universities‚ workplaces and other social gatherings to lure potential drug mules‚ according to the newspaper.

Syndicates offer between R20 000 and R35 000 a trip for potential drug mules to courier narcotics internationally from South Africa.

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