Multiple arrests after drug, abalone busts worth millions at OR Tambo airport

Several suspects have been arrested at OR Tambo International Airport over the past few days after they were found with drugs worth millions in their luggage.

A consignment of abalone with an estimated value of R1.8m was also confiscated.

South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Katlego Mogale said the suspects, between the ages of 21 and 45, have since appeared in court and investigations were continuing.

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"The first suspect was intercepted at the check-in counters. The suspect was stopped before she could check in her luggage which was found to contain boxes of Kellogg’s corn flakes cereal. Sachets containing white powder suspected to be crystal meth were found concealed in the boxes," Mogale said in a statement.

She added that another suspect was pursued after he realised that he was under surveillance at the airport and ran off to his vehicle.

Mogale said the man was found with suspected drugs with an estimated value of R1.98m.

Illicit goods trafficking

"The third suspect, on the other hand, was found with suspected cocaine weighing 3.4kg and estimated to be [worth] about R940 000, when his luggage was searched," Mogale said.

She also said that a fourth suspect was arrested after he was found with 17kg of ephedrine, with an estimated street value of R690 000.

Mogale said preliminary investigations concerning the fourth suspect revealed that he did not appear on the passenger list.

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In a separate incident, a suspicious passenger who was en route to Hong Kong was also arrested after abalone weighing 60kg, with an estimated value of R1.8m, was found on him.

Mogale has urged the public with information on trafficking of illicit goods to report it to the police.

"Callers may remain anonymous and all information will be treated with strictest confidence," she said.