Sars dogs aid in huge coke busts

2012-11-16 19:31

Cape Town - SA Revenue Service anti-drug operations proved highly successful in October, with staff and drug detector dogs sniffing out more than R7m worth of cocaine, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan revealed on Friday.

A further R3.5m in illegal cigarettes was seized.

Replying in writing to a parliamentary question, Gordhan boasted the effectiveness of the Customs Modernisation Programme, which had provided improved risk analysis since 2009.

Gordhan said 26 October proved very fruitful, as several seizures were made at two border posts and at a Sars export section.

During the random inspection, a parcel from Buenos Aires via South Africa to Maputo was intercepted.

"Upon inspection clothing with a strong odour of vinegar, covered in yellow stains was found," said Gordhan.

A narcotics dog was sent to the scene to confirm officials' suspicions on the odour and abnormal weight of the clothing.

"The dog [April] gave a positive indication for narcotics."

Further tests proved the clothing was soaked in 600g of liquid cocaine with a street value of R163 260.

On the same day, crime intelligence officers tipped Sars off about a truck carrying illegal cigarettes across a border post in Limpopo.

"One truck... [appeared] empty. However, upon thorough inspection it was discovered that it had false compartments in which 3 450 cartons of various cigarettes were concealed," said Gordhan.

The cigarettes were worth over R400 000.

Also on 26 October, a motorist was arrested after 790 packets of cigarettes were found hidden in the door panels, the dashboard, behind the front head lights, and in the engine compartment of his car at a border post.

On 22 October, man's best friend - this time a German Shepherd named Monty - helped his handlers detect 3kg of cocaine.

The drugs were found concealed in a laptop.

Another form of cocaine, which appeared on the face of it to be a "black rubbery substance", was discovered on three men arriving in South Africa on a flight from Buenos Aires.

"The black cocaine [also known as Coca Negra] was found concealed in the lining of the three men’s jackets, in the soles of two pairs of sandals, as well as in the lining of a duvet found in [their] luggage," Gordhan said.

The close to 11kg of the drug had a street value of R5.5m.

Earlier the same month, Sars customs officials seized R3m in smuggled cigarettes.

The cigarettes were hidden in a fuel tanker and its trailer, which had been "cut open, filled to almost 90% with the cigarettes, resealed, welded shut, and repainted before proceeding to the border post".

Last year, Sars recorded over R2.6bn worth of illicit goods, which included drugs, cigarettes, rhino horn, and illegal clothing and textiles.

  • john.barbarian.9 - 2012-11-16 19:38

    SARS dog units?.... Where are the credits to SAPS K-9 Units?

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-11-16 19:59

      These are Customs dogs. Customs officers work for SARS.

      art5SA - 2012-11-17 06:23

      Seems like CUSTOMS OFFICIALS are more effective than SAPS!

      john.barbarian.9 - 2012-11-18 02:14

      @ Squegee I know only one place near Pretoria, where those dogs gets trained. Anyway....Cheers to the dogs and the handlers. Well done !!!

  • sandor.l.varga - 2012-11-16 19:42

    Congratulation for a dogs and a handlers. Why is only a SARS working properly in the whole government departments ???

      christi.roestorff - 2012-11-16 21:32

      It's common in all revolutionary governments!

      willem.wulfse - 2012-11-17 21:21

      The fiscus needs the money. Thank God the drugs are not going somewhere else, or are they?

  • squeegee.pilot - 2012-11-16 20:00

    The amount of drugs found and confiscated is minuscule compared to the amount that makes it onto our streets. Before the minister throws a happy fit he needs to consider all the consignments that get past customs...

  • johan.jacobs.5680 - 2012-11-16 20:18

    Two ,quick rich schemes in South Africa drugs or politics,in the right party.

  • lorrin.jarvis - 2012-11-16 20:25

    Why doesn't the tax man give back to animal welfare if these dogs are helping?

      Sphiwe Bhengu - 2012-11-16 20:37

      believe me Lorrin sars has invested alot to animal org. most often they invest in abandoned K9

  • sally.lewitt - 2012-11-16 21:40

    The Big question is: After its confiscated, is it destroyed or does it end up on the streets anyway..? My calculated guess: Yup!

  • jy.wilmos - 2012-11-16 23:24

    SAPS Crime Intelligence is a contradiction in terms. If not, they would have alerted us to what was going to happen in De Doorns, Wolsely etc. Chances are they knew very well, but their bosses in Pretoria just let it ride. What are a few thousand jobs lost, a few dead bodies, a few hundred million Rand wasted, when weighed against giving the DA voters in the Western Cape a good slap for going against the regime?

  • beverly.young3 - 2012-11-17 01:02

    I'm a bit comfused here. SARS are doing this? huh? nog al....since they know the vat??? are they going to realise money form this? just asking.....

      bobby.jaan.92 - 2012-11-17 03:37

      I agree with yaya188 - I thought that one's info and declarations to SARS were confidential but with this bust it can no longer be. Gone is confidentiality in tax returns!

      lara.vanrooyen.1 - 2012-11-17 06:41

      What idiotic comments! What does taxpayer confidentiality have to do with Customs officials inspecting trucks? Customs all over the world does this. It's their job.

  • mart.botha - 2012-11-17 11:27

    JAIL, NO BAIL. These mutants are dealing in death and must forgo any rights they may think they have. South Africans must demand that the various branches of law and order, justice and revenue, treat drug smugglers like mass murderers.

  • marc.hugo.75 - 2012-11-17 13:21

    Rhino horn and cocaine - I'm 100% supportive of seizing that and hammering the conveyors of it mercilessly till they confess everything. Illegal cigarettes and illegal clothing and textiles - that's all all protectionist nonsense. Especially textiles for heavens sake!! Trying to protect local lazy, inefficient textile workers from affordable and quality imports. The real victims are the end buyer - and victimising him/her is the self-righteous pratts upholding these ridiculous ‘laws’. Illegal cigarettes - tripe if ever there was.

  • elsbeth.verhoeven - 2012-11-17 21:11

    Last month 8 tons of cocaine were found in a container with bananas that came from South America to Rotterdam. If you read a lot about this then you will realise that Africa is a place where a lot of drugs from South America find a route to Europe.

  • jacques.swanepoel.372 - 2012-11-19 21:08

    Can we please train some those dogs to sniff out some tender irregularities.

  • Billy - 2012-12-04 08:00

    why is our revenue service doing drug busts with dogs? wtf?

      Jannie Beirowski - 2013-05-15 00:09

      Billy, they did try cats but dogs work better! Your question sounds like an ANC question - real stupid!

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