Drugs disguised as moulded artwork seized at OR Tambo Airport

The SA Revenue Service’s (SARS) customs officials have seized 23kg of narcotics disguised as moulded artwork.

The drugs, with an estimated street value of R37-million, were uncovered at the cargo sheds of the OR Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg.

The customs officials were conducting an inspection last week when they came across a box headed for New Zealand. The box contained moulded artwork that looked suspicious.

The officers used a narcotics test kit and some of the items tested positive for crystal meth, which weighed 10kg.

Another test by police officers on other items came back with positive results for fentanyl, which weighed 13kg.

The narcotics were handed over to the SA Police Service for further investigation.

Customs officials praised

In a statement, SARS commissioner Edward Kieswetter praised the vigilance of the customs officials who detected the narcotics.

“SARS customs will spare no effort in stopping the export or import of narcotics and any illegal substance which causes so much pain and hardship for families, particularly their youth,” said Kieswetter.

“Drug smugglers must know that our customs division is fully committed to this objective, and will act without fear or favour against those criminals involved in the drugs trade.

“They must know that they will face the full might of the law.”

Drug dealers sentenced

The drug bust comes after four men accused of drug-related offences were each sentenced to six years in prison by the Benoni magistrate’s court on December 14.

Chima Giftson Elkanah, 35, Christian Obumnaeme Chijioke, 35, Evans Mkpa Onyeani, 37, and 44-year-old Ugochukwu Kenneth Eleghasim were convicted for contravening section 5 (b) of the Drug and Drug Trafficking Act 140 of 1992, as well as dealing in drugs.

The accused were arrested by members of the Hawks’ serious organised crime investigation and West Rand K9 unit after a warrant of arrest was granted for (individuals) at a residence in Lakefield in Benoni. – SAnews.gov.za

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