Huge cocaine bust in KZN

2009-01-29 00:00

A 230-kg shipment of cocaine was intercepted on a cargo ship in the Durban harbour yesterday.

It is the largest ever cocaine bust in South Africa during which a suspect has been arrested, said Johan Booysen, head of the SAPS’s organised crime unit in KwaZulu-Natal.

This comes after a shipment of dagga and cocaine was intercepted at London’s Heathrow Airport on board a South African Airways Boeing. A crew member of the aircraft and a security guard were arrested in connection with those drugs.

The cocaine discovered yesterday has a street value of about R230 million. It is presumed to have been brought on to the freighter, named the Senator, on an earlier leg of the ship’s voyage.

A crew member of the Senator, a 28-year-old Croat, was arrested after the packaged cocaine was found in his cabin, hidden in suitcases, drawers and rucksacks, among other things. “He presumably took the cocaine on board in rucksacks. There were so many rucksacks in his cabin that it looked as if he was on his way to climbing Kilimanjaro,” said Booysen.

Members of the police’s organised crime unit started searching the Senator early yesterday morning, assisted by customs officials.

The whole boat was thoroughly searched from top to bottom. Police divers even checked the hull under the water. Booysen said the raid was driven by intelligence that had been gathered.

The Senator is registered in Liberia and was en route from Croatia, with Argentina its last port of call.

According to Booysen, the captain and crew co-operated with the police and none, except for the 28-year-old, are suspected at this stage of having been involved with the smuggling operation.

However, further arrests have not been excluded, said Booysen. Police are also trying to establish whether SA was the intended final destination.

The operational officer commanding the organised crime units in KZN, Superintendent Andre Laatz, said South Africa has become a big consumer of cocaine in the past seven years. It was previously used largely as a transit point for drugs being smuggled from South America to Europe.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.