Drugs worth R36m found in Joburg sting

2012-05-27 16:17

Johannesburg - A joint operation of law enforcement agencies has discovered more than a ton of hashish with a street value of R36m as well as a 50-year-old tortoise in a storage facility south of Johannesburg, police say.

National police spokesperson Dennis Adriao said the SA Police Service, working with the Hawks and Crime Intelligence,  discovered crates of hashish destined for export in the storage facility on Saturday.

The tortoise was being kept without food and water between the crates, he said.

The animal has been handed to the wildlife unit from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, he said.

"The tortoise is a female leopard tortoise probably from somewhere on the east coast of Africa," Adriao said.

"She was showing signs of distress which is inevitable considering what she has been through, but she has been fed and watered and will be X-rayed by a vet on Monday," he said.

Adriao said creatures like tortoises were often smuggled to Asian countries where they were used in food preparations.

The hashish, a cannabis preparation, was hidden in pet food bags, tobacco and tomato sauce packaging.

Sniffer dogs were brought in to search the facility and they confirmed the presence of the drugs and the forensic unit was also involved.

"Criminals think that by hiding drugs in pet food packaging we will pass over it thinking the sniffer dogs have been distracted by the smell. Our dogs are not that stupid," Adriao said.

Police suspect the drugs and the tortoise were being smuggled by an international syndicate.

  • Cassandra Eileen Olivier - 2012-05-27 16:46

    Its a pity they not in there own country where they can be punished more harshly then here

  • rbphiri - 2012-05-27 17:23

    Hell when the drug lord comes across this article his going to be really pissed! R36m gone...even worse his 50-year-old meal aka the tortoise, is gone as well.

  • Diego - 2012-05-27 17:31

    why is it that more and more of our lovely animals are killed for the Asian market

  • Seena - 2012-05-27 19:59

    i cry for african wild life, this the only continent that still has an abundance of wildlife thanks to our african ancestors for respecting nature in our continent we see people from all over the world gobsmacked by the game we have and making documetaries to show to their folk what wildlife is

  • Olusunne - 2012-05-27 20:35

    they wont be caught because they have strong informant among law enforcement pple.

  • CoronaSherona - 2012-05-27 22:26

    Make the buggers smoke it all in one go and then lock them in a small dark room. That should fix them nicely.

      Kwisatz - 2012-05-29 14:01

      i`ll take their punishment :)

  • Malcolm - 2012-05-28 08:17

    The national police, SA Police, Hawks and Crime Intelligence should be easily able to ascertain precisely who deposited the illegal goods for export; and simply arrest them. Come on South Africa, now is your time to shine!

  • Antin - 2012-05-28 09:28

    No food, a TON of hash? One very stoned leopard tortoise.

  • tednhet - 2012-05-28 09:38

    Clearly it was a "joint " operation.Hope the tortoise didn't get stuck into it ;)

  • Antin - 2012-05-28 09:39

    Hashish is a processed, very concentrated form of dagga. One ton found -ten go through. Most easily bribed cops, extremely low conviction rate, abundant resources and high-priced wildlife. 'Makes SA a Mecca for international crime syndicates. Expect to find some hashish on the Joburg markets soon.

      Malcolm - 2012-05-29 08:52

      The Police will probably be selling it to the druglords on the streets. It often happens that evidence goes missing, especially drugs, because they’re easy to move; for good cash too.

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