Cocaine worth R85m seized at Port of Ngqura

Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

Drugs worth more than R85m were seized at the weekend on board a ship from Ecuador, South America, which docked at the Port of Ngqura.

The operation was conducted by the Ports of Entry team following a tip-off, police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Katlego Mogale said in a statement on Monday.

The team included customs investigations, the K9 unit and SAPS border police.

Mogale said the inter-agency teams removed two suspicious containers and took them to the container depot.

“Upon opening the containers it was found that the contents were bananas, as described on the bill of lading, which also indicated it was destined for Cape Town.

“Upon inspecting the rear refrigeration unit, a hidden compartment was discovered.”

The team removed some of the panelling and found packages wrapped in brown tape.

“A total of 40 packages, which tested positive for cocaine, were discovered in both the containers,” Mogale said.

Further investigations revealed a further two similar containers on the same vessel.

At about 1am on Sunday, “the sniffer dog reacted positively to the same rear refrigeration panelling as in the previous two containers”, he said.

“The team discovered a further 45 bricks wrapped in brown packaging tape, which tested positive for cocaine, with an estimated weight of 45kg. in both containers.”

In total, 85 bricks with an approximate weight of 85kg and an estimated street value of R85m were seized.

“High levels of collaboration between stakeholders at the port have once again paid off,” Mogale said.

“There have been breakthroughs made as a result of the ongoing proactive fight against crime, especially the proliferation of drugs coming into and through the port.

“Investigations are continuing.”