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3 arrested after R30m cocaine bust at OR Tambo International Airport

Gauteng police made a R30m drug bust at OR Tambo International Airport during an integrated multidisciplinary operation on Saturday.

The bust resulted in the arrest of three alleged drug mules, said police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo.

Police officials and officials from SARS, ACSA and airport security responded to a tip-off and intercepted a man and a woman travelling from South America.

The woman was allegedly carrying more than 21kg of what is believed to be cocaine in her luggage and the man a further 4kg strapped to his waist and chest.

While the two suspects were being processed, Hawks officers intercepted a 49-year-old Brakpan man, destined for Hong Kong, who was allegedly carrying 5kg of cocaine. All the suspects were booked or had travelled business class.

The three hauls are estimated to be worth R30m.

Naidoo said this was the second time in
less than a month that an alleged drug mule travelling to Hong Kong with cocaine is
intercepted at ORTIA.

“In fact, since January 1 [last year] to
date the joint team secured an average of 20 drug busts per month including
parcels coming through the mail centre, via courier companies as well as an
average of one drug mule per week at ORTIA alone.

“These drug successes are an indication of the capacity and capabilities of the joint security forces to decisively deal with the numerous attempts to use the airport as a thoroughfare for drug smuggling. This clearly negates recent media reports that drug smugglers pass through OR Tambo International Airport undetected,” he said.

The three suspects face charges of dealing in drugs and are expected to appear in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

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