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  1. bottlekop
    19 April 2006 12:41
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    R64-million cocaine busts at Jo'burg airport

    Two large drug busts at the Johannesburg International
    airport in the past two days have kept cocaine worth an
    estimated value of R64-million off the streets.
    South African Revenue Service (Sars) customs officials
    intercepted a shipment of 20kg of cocaine on Wednesday
    morning.
    "The large quantity demonstrates the threat syndicated
    crime and the smuggling of illicit items, including
    narcotics, pose to South Africa and its communities," said
    Sars spokesperson Adrian Lackay.
    SARS found the narcotics concealed in the wooden handles of
    women's handbags as part of cargo freight on a South
    African Airways flight from Sao Paulo airport in Brazil to
    Johannesburg. Lackay said the flight landed shortly after
    6am.
    "Customs officials risk-profiled the shipment and
    physically searched the contents. Inspections found that
    the narcotics were concealed in the wooden handles of
    female handbags."
    The drugs were believed to have a street value of more than
    R9-million.
    No arrests had been made.
    The bust followed police's seizure at the airport on
    Tuesday morning of cocaine worth an estimated street value
    of R55-million.
    Lackay said the incidents were not necessarily linked.
    Police arrested a 34-year-old Nigerian man at his home in
    Randburg on Tuesday night in connection with their bust,
    Superintendent Vishnu Naidoo said.
    "The drugs arrived here yesterday [Tuesday] morning at
    9am."
    He said "hundreds of thousands of rands in cash was also
    seized" from the man's home. Police were not expecting to
    make further arrests.
    The drugs were imported from South America about a week
    ago.
    In the past seven months, drugs worth an estimated value of
    R130-million have been seized at Johannesburg International
    airport, Naidoo said.
    Lackay said the smuggling highlighted the importance for
    Sars to improve customs operations' border- and trade-
    control capabilities.
    "Sars investigators, together with the police, will
    investigate the matter further," said Lackay. -- Sapa

    -Mail & Gaurdian (online).
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    local South African news paper. currency in article is
    RANDS. exchange rate roughly at 1$ to 6/7 rand (usualy).

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