22 September 2015 – Two massive crystal meth busts at ORTIA

Pretoria, 22 September 2015 – In just one day, Customs officials at OR Tambo International Airport made two massive busts of crystal meth valued at over R29 million in total.

Earlier today, Customs officials at the terminal discovered crystal meth worth over R18 million hidden in three bags which had arrived from Lagos. Vigilant Customs officials noticed the bags on the carousel which were each marked with green tape. It seemed that their baggage tags had been tampered with, indicating they belonged to different passengers. However, none of the labels corresponded to anyone on the flight. 

The bags were then sent for scanning, using the new high-tech baggage scanner, which was installed at ORTIA in July this year. The image revealed what seemed to be dense blocks inside the bags. When the bags were opened, Customs officials discovered hairpieces covering several small square parcels wrapped in foil and cloth.

The 17 packets, which contained crystal meth valued at R18 630 000, were handed over to the SAPS.

Later in the day, Customs officials at the cargo section completed an inspection on several shipments declared as hair pieces from Lagos.

The shipment had arrived on 12 September, but the agent and client constantly delayed the inspection until today, when Customs officials found two bags, containing back packs and sports bags, hidden amongst the consignment.

A SARS detector dog  reacted positively for  drugs. After further inspection, false bottoms were discovered in the bags, concealing a crystal-like substance which turned out to be crystal meth.

Altogether 35,4kg of crystal meth, valued at R10,6 million, was confiscated. The case was handed over to the SAPS.

These are major busts by SARS Customs who implement daily inspections at all Ports of Entry in an effort to foil the smuggling of prohibited goods. SARS will continue to work with other law enforcement agencies to protect the country and its citizens by disrupting organised crime and reducing illicit trade activities.