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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

Durban Harbour ‘shipping news’: Two massive drug seizures net cocaine worth R150m

Nothing to sniff at: Durban Harbour police seized cocaine with a street value of R80m at a warehouse on Friday afternoon.

A two-month-long intelligence-driven operation by Durban Harbour police officers has culminated in two major drug hauls this week of cocaine with a collective estimated street value of R150 million.  

On Friday afternoon, members of the South African Police Force (Saps) attached to the Durban Harbour, pounced again and seized cocaine worth R80 million at a warehouse at the Dube Trade Port within the King Shaka International Airport. 

Cocaine worth R80m seized at Dube Trade Port

According to national police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe, they tracked a container in which 228 blocks of cocaine was found concealed as meat boxes, to the Dube Trade Port.

Busy week of cocaine busts at Durban Harbour

The latest drug bust follows Wednesday’s seizure of a large amount of cocaine worth around R70 million found aboard a vessel from Brazil at the harbour.

Police revealed that the shipment of 200 blocks of raw cocaine were stashed inside 20-litre paint buckets and headed to an unknown location in Gauteng.

Mathe said investigations were underway to pinpoint the final destination of these drugs.

Watch: Police seize cocaine worth R70m

Saps ‘hard at work’ – Masemola

Earlier this week, national police commissioner General Fannie Masemola commended the team responsible for the first drug seizure for the disruption of transnational crimes in relation to the movement of drugs.

β€œThe Saps is hard at work in disrupting and dismantling transnational organised crime that poses a significant threat to the communities that we serve. We continue to intensify and strengthen the detection of drug trafficking and associated organised crime,” Masemola said.

Destination Gauteng?

“The destination looks like it was Gauteng. Well, it might carry the address of Gauteng without necessarily going there. We are busy still with the investigation to find the owners of this paint because there is paperwork and everything,” the national police commissioner explained.

Police Minister Bheki Cele also made his way to the scene of the cocaine bust, praising the “meticulous investigative work at play”.

“We will continue to stamp the authority of the state … We are strengthening our response and our strategy in dealing with these syndicates,” Cele said.

No arrests have been made at this stage.

The two cases will be handed over to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) for further investigation.

Illegal activities along SA coast

Julian Rademayer, director of the South Africa Observatory for the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, however told News24 that illegal activities along South Africa’s coast are not monitored sufficiently.

“We don’t have the capacity to police ships moving along our coasts, carrying drugs. We lack the surveillance equipment, funding and political will to fight drug cartels that are using our ports of entry.”

KwaZulu-Natal community policing forum board spokesperson Siyanda Biyela echoed Rademeyer’s sentiment while expressing “renewed confidence” in the police’s efforts to clamp down on illicit drug trade.

“We are aware that security at South Africa’s ports of entry is compromised. This seizure of drugs in Durban has given renewed confidence that the police have the crime situation under control.”

NOW READ: Cops seize cocaine worth R48m in Western Cape

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