Drug-rid­den SA a ma­jor trad­ing hub for UK and US

Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - YOLISA TSWANYA

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.

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