‘We will wipe out drug lords’
166 smugglers arrested at OR Tambo
THE POLICE have vowed to bring drug lords and smugglers to their knees.
Seven drug “mules” were arrested at OR Tambo International Airport on Thursday, bringing to 166 the number of drug couriers arrested at the airport this year.
Police spokesman Colonel Vish Naidoo said at least 22 of them had been South Africans.
“We have recorded many drug trafficking incidents across the country. However, the majority of these arrests take place at OR Tambo as this is the point of entry for many international flights,” he said.
Cocaine was the contraband of choice, with 145 mules caught in possession of the drug, as opposed to five for heroine, seven for tik and two for ephedrine.
Naidoo said the police profiled passengers based on information provided by law enforcement intelligence units and Interpol.
Profiling was an intricate and highly sophisticated pro- cess as drug mules were innovative, he said.
“We have seen all sorts of tactics used by these drug mules. For instance one man was recently caught at OR Tambo with cocaine wrapped around his wig. Very much like how Nolubabalo ( Nobanda) was caught in Thailand,” Naidoo said.
Some drug mules swallowed condoms filled with contraband or pushed them up their rectums. They also put the fine powder or pills in coffins, leg casts, babies’ nappies, baby powder bottles, statues or suitcase linings.
Naidoo said the
police couldn’t reveal all the methods used as some which were more difficult to detect could be copied.
“Drug trafficking is a web of problems for the police, but we eventually catch the culprits,” Naidoo said.
Hawks spokesman Mcintosh Polela said although the crime-fighting unit had been successful in detaining drug dealers, there was plenty of work to be done.
“Just when you think you’ve closed in on one syndicate or a drug lab another one pops up. Dealers often replace drug manifestos and migrate to other areas for their dealings.”
Polela said drug dealers also moved to safer areas.
“These are often residential areas,” he said.
He warned that the market for drugs in the country had become increasingly lucrative and that drug dealers were expanding their target market.
“If a person is caught with drugs worth R17 000, it simply means that many people are using.”
Polela said the crimefighting unit would not rest on its laurels.
“We are pretty determined to wipe out syndicates. We are confident that we will do this in time,” he said.
THE DREADED BUST: Bangkok police search Nolubabalo Nobanda’s dreads.