South Africa, Durban – The Hawks, South African Police Service, Metro Police and many other law enforcement agencies have seized drugs that have been concealed in, among others, furniture, religious ornaments, toilet seats, tyres, hidden compartments in vehicles and luggage.
The confiscated drugs were cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, crystal meth, dagga, methamphetamine and equipment. Some of these have been intercepted at the country’s biggest ports and main roads, OR Tambo International Airport, Cape Town Harbour and the N3.
Drugs with an estimated street value of up to R87.5 million were seized. In total, and these are the seizures we know about, more than R100m worth of drugs were seized by police in South Africa this year.
Some of these drug trafficking tricks might seem new and innovative but the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) said although the fight against South African-linked drug traffickers was making progress, there were always new ways of transporting drugs. It was a cat-and-mouse game.
In the case of heroin, as shown in cases of trucks being stopped at the border of Mozambique and South Africa or taken from Mozambique to Swaziland, the destination for heroin is often South Africa (for consumption) and from here transported to Europe, he said. In the case of dagga, it could have originally come from Swaziland or Lesotho.
The origin of mandrax is often India and it arrives at Durban ports. As for methamphetamines, precursors are often from Asian countries, most recently from Afghanistan, and the tablets arrive at Durban or Cape Town ports. Cocaine originates from Latin America and often arrives at various ports as they are transported by ship, Chelin said.
He added that where the drugs are trafficked might be difficult to establish.
“As we have seen, KZN does have a big consumer market but also these drugs often find their way to other provinces. It depends on the drugs in question. Durban, for instance, has a big mandrax market and it might be possible the drugs are predominantly destined for the KZN drug market but there is a possibility other drug markets in other provinces are also supplied,” Chelin said.
UNODC findings revealed that for the first time in 2018, ecstasy manufacturing was reported in South Africa with two laboratories being dismantled. There were reports of large quantities of ecstasy powder and tablets seized in South Africa last year and this year.
“According to information from law enforcement authorities and annual prevalence data, the two countries where clandestine methamphetamine laboratories were dismantled, Nigeria and South Africa, are also major destination markets for methamphetamine. In addition, two-way trafficking between Nigeria and South Africa has been reported,” the UNODA said.