Three people arrested for allegedly possessing R30m worth of cocaine at OR Tambo International Airport over the weekend made a brief appearance in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court in Gauteng on Monday.
The group is facing charges relating to dealing in drugs.
This comes after the three alleged drug mules were caught during an integrated multidisciplinary operation on Saturday following a tip-off.
The first two suspects were travelling from South America. The woman was allegedly found carrying more than 21kg of cocaine in her luggage while a man was found with 4kg strapped to his waist and chest.
In a separate incident, while the two were being processed, the Hawks intercepted a 49-year-old man from Brakpan who was destined to travel to Hong Kong, allegedly with 5kg of cocaine.
The three hauls had an estimated combined street value of R30m.
“Since January 1 [last year] to date, the joint team secured an average of 20 drug busts per month, including parcels coming through the mail centre, via courier companies, as well as an average of one drug mule per week at ORTIA (OR Tambo International Airport) alone.
“These drug successes are an indication of the capacity and capabilities of the joint security forces to decisively deal with the numerous attempts to use the airport as a thoroughfare for drug smuggling. This clearly negates recent media reports that drug smugglers pass through OR Tambo International Airport undetected,” national police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo told News24 earlier.
The 49-year-old Brakpan man will return to the Magistrate’s Court on February 14 for a formal bail application.
The 20-year-old male suspect will return to court on February 17, while his co-accused, the woman, will return on February 21.
All three have been remanded in police custody.