R19m heroin bust at Beitbridge

2013-12-21 09:19

A 45-year-old Malawian man appeared in the Musina Magistrates’ Court for allegedly attempting to smuggle heroin with an estimated street value of R19 million into South Africa, Limpopo police said.

Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said yesterday Makunkha Kennedy Manda was formally charged with possession of the drugs.

The case was postponed to December 27 for a formal bail application.

He was arrested at Musina’s Beitbridge border post yesterday morning.

“The suspect, a bus driver of a recognised South African luxury bus service, was arrested with more than 1 981g of heroin tablets worth around R19 million,” said Mulaudzi.

“The operation began when police and customs officials stopped the bus from Malawi, and a search by officials as well as a sniffer dog led to the discovery of a packet with a large amount of tablets in possession of the driver.”

Mulaudzi said the tablets were tested and found to be heroin.

The man was arrested by the SA Police Service and the SA Revenue Service.

The package was given to the police narcotics unit for further investigation.

“A thorough search of the bus revealed no further narcotics. The bus was released with the driver behind bars,” Mulaudzi said.

Limpopo provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Fannie Masemola warned people who thought of smuggling drugs through the borders that police would continue working with their counterparts.

“If you try to bring in drugs in Limpopo you face the combined efforts of a number of law enforcement agencies. This wasn’t a small amount for personal use,” he said.

“Heroin is a prohibited drug and could have tragic outcomes for the user.”

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