PAYING TOP DOLLAR FOR A FISTFUL OF SMACK
On South Africa’s streets, a gram of heroin will cost between R150 and R250. The wholesale price is between R180 000 and R250 000 a kilogram.
“Heroin is a very pure form of drug,” Captain Mark de Bruin told the court. “You can’t use pure heroin – it has to be cut. This also increases your mass, so there are big profit margins in heroin.”
UNODC figures show heroin prices increase dramatically as it moves along the trafficking routes, with prices compensating smugglers for the risks they run of having their product intercepted.
“The value of heroin in the UK means that South African crime groups can afford to lose around six to seven out of every 10 packages trafficked, and can still make a profit,” UNODC says.
Demand for heroin in the US is drastically increasing, in part because of a crackdown on prescription drug use, which is pushing drug users towards cheaper alternatives like heroin.
“In 2014, nationwide kilogram prices for South American heroin ranged from a low of $10 000 per kilogram to a high of $120 000 per kilogram,” a spokesperson for the DEA said.
Although Mark paid $10 000 for 10kgs of heroin, court records show this was only to move the drugs from Tanzania to South Africa. At least another $55 000 was allegedly electronically transferred to Basit.