Sars customs officials marked their biggest ever cocaine bust when they seized 271kg of cocaine with an estimated street value of R78 million at OR Tambo International Airport at the weekend.
The drugs, en route from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Nairobi, Kenya, were found in a cargo warehouse during routine operations.
The specific shipment, indicated as “cosmetics” on official documentation, was identified for closer inspection through customs profiling techniques, a SARS statement said.
A physical inspection was conducted after narcotics sniffer dogs reacted positively to the cargo. Officials found hair products packed in boxes.
A drug test on a number of randomly selected containers all gave an immediate positive reaction to cocaine.
Last month, 28kg of ecstasy and cocaine was busted, with an estimated street value of R8 million. It was intercepted by SARS officials – also at OR Tambo International.
A sniffer dog had reacted positively to a shipment that came from Sao Paulo via Joburg in transit to Windhoek, Namibia.
In a separate incident, twelve containers of cream were confirmed to contain 15kg of cocaine, estimated to be worth R4 315 500.
In an earlier incident this month, SARS customs officials intercepted 13.2kg of ecstasy at the Johannesburg International Mail Centre.
The drugs, with an estimated street value of R3 960 000 were en route to Sweden from Malawi.
The discovery was made when alert customs officials noticed that the seals of several containers containing cream were damaged.
Upon further inspection, officials discovered the drugs in 42 containers. A drug test confirmed the contents to be ecstasy.