Drugs worth R6,5 mln found among saris from India

2013-10-24 00:00

ON the surface, the multi-coloured, ornately designed saris in clear plastic bags looked like the run-of-the-mill goods any traveller returning from India would carry back with them.

But when police at King Shaka International Airport decided the bags warranted closer inspection, they found that the couple who had brought them into the country had concealed 36 kg of crystal methamphetamine (known as tik in South Africa) with a street value of approximately R6,5 million.

On Tuesday, the Durban Organised Crime Unit arrested the couple, aged 28 and 29, after they landed on an Emirates flight from India at 8 pm.

According to police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker, the police and custom officials had profiled the couple before they tried to pass through customs. Both suspects were stopped and their luggage was searched, he said.

Later that night, a 36-year-old woman was arrested in the Point area in Durban as she awaited delivery of the drugs.

According to a well-placed source in the police, the two suspects’ profiles raised suspicion during a random search, as they were first-time international travellers and their ticket was paid for by a third party (believed to be the woman later arrested in Point Road). It is believed the pair were paid R20 000 each to carry the drugs, and that their luggage was sent in transit (directly) from India.

“All three suspects are in custody for dealing in drugs and will appear in court soon,” said Naicker.

KwaZulu-Natal provincial commissioner, Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni, commended members of the Durban Organised Crime Unit and Customs for the breakthrough. “I am glad that months of hard work and patience has paid off. I am delighted that we are now able to reach those that are on the very top of this vicious chain that destroys the youth of our province.”

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