Drug-ridden SA a major trading hub for UK and US
SOUTH Africa has become a major transit route for illicit drugs heading to markets in the US and UK.
In the first six months of this year, drugs worth almost R180 million were seized at the country’s entry and exit points.
Sars spokesperson Sandile Memela said most of the drugs confiscated by customs officials were heading out of the country, with large quantities going to the UK and the US.
Traffickers were becoming smarter at getting drugs in and out of the country, he added.
“The types of drugs are cannabis, cocaine, crystal meth, DMT, ecstasy, ephedrine, heroin, khat, LSD, magic mushrooms, mandrax, Nyaope and rush poppers. Traffickers trans- port drugs in shampoo bottles, false compartments in bags and boxes, inside books and in boxes of food and body wraps.”
He said there had been more than 400 drug busts this year, the biggest being that of 271kg of cocaine with an estimated street value of more than R77m.
“Drugs are detected at ports through baggage scanners, detector dogs, passenger profiling and cargo profiling. We receive tip-offs from other authorities and the public,” said Memela.
Last weekend, police raided almost 100 drug houses in Nyanga, making 207 arrests. Drugs confiscated included 14 000 mandrax tablets, dagga and 600 units of tik.
Dr David Bayever, of the Central Drug Authority, said drug usage in South Africa was twice the world norm.