SA a huge link in drug network

2011-12-18 19:00
Johannesburg - Travelling South Africans are increasingly being flagged by customs officials in other countries.

This is in large part due to South African passports being faked and used by international terrorists, said organised crime expert Annette Hübschle.

“We do not have such a brilliant reputation anymore,” she said.

And the situation is exacerbated by an increasing number of southern Africans being arrested for drug-related crimes in Europe and Asia.

Currently, 619 South Africans are in prisons abroad for drug trafficking. In Thailand, 12 South Africans were arrested this year. About 20 were arrested in foreign countries in November alone.

Besides Nolubabalo Nobanda’s arrest, the Bali Times reported in October that two more South Africans faced the death penalty after being arrested in Indonesia at Ngurah Rai International Airport.

Brett Savage, 44, from Johannesburg was arrested for allegedly carrying 3kg of crystal methamphetamine (tik) and Kedibone Motsweneng was arrested days later, allegedly trying to smuggle in 2.5kg of the drug.

At the same airport in September, housekeeper Nyolukana Nomakorinte Christabell, 44, was paraded in front of the media in Bali.

She cried uncontrollably after being caught with 1kg of crystal meth hidden in her underwear.

Hübschle said the volume of drugs trafficked through southern Africa to markets in Europe and Asia had surged.

“South Africa is a huge link in the international drug trafficking chain. These organised crime ‘networks’ are not only into drugs, but into other illicit and licit trading as well.

A trafficker from South Africa, for instance, might traffic rhino horn to China and traffic drugs back to South Africa,” she said.

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