Crew man in court over cocaine haul

2009-06-20 00:00

A CROATIAN man appeared briefly in the Camperdown Magistrate’s Court yesterday in connection with the biggest ever cocaine haul by South African authorities at Durban harbour earlier this year.

Crew man Branimir Orac (33) was arrested on January 29 by members of the Pietermaritzburg organised crime unit (assisted by customs officials and Port Security Services) on board the ship the Senator, which was en route from South America to Europe.

Investigators allegedly seized 230 kg of cocaine, compressed into one-kilogram blocks, from Orac’s cabin.

The previous biggest haul was 150 kg of cocaine found hidden in a shipment of mirrors at a warehouse in Tongaat. In that case, Britons John Tutton and Tommy McKinnon were jailed for 30 years in December 2007.

Last year, Laatz and three other members of his unit were honoured by the UK Metropolitan Police Service and UK government for cracking that case, linked to a major drug trafficking syndicate between England and South Africa.

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