Three suspects — one driver and two passengers — have been arrested after the Richards Bay Serious Organised Investigation members found drugs with a street value of about R87.5 million inside a truck making its way to KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday 9 September.
ALMOST 250 PACKETS OF DRUGS FOUND INSIDE HIDDEN COMPARTMENT
The Hawks in collaboration with the Mpumalanga Crime Intelligence discovered 342.5 kilograms of heroin powder inside what is believed to be a purpose-built hide in a truck, which was coming from Mozambique via Swaziland to KwaZulu-Natal.
The truck was intercepted in Hluhluwe, a northern town KwaZulu-Natal. The team immediately started searching the truck.
"Almost 250 packets of heroin were found hidden in a false partition which was newly painted. Members had to cut open the compartment in order to access the drugs," said Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo in a statement.
Image via: Hawks
"The driver and two passengers were immediately placed under arrest; they will appear in court soon," added Mhlongo.
Image via: Hawks
National Head of the DPCI Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya welcomed the arrest and the seizure of the drugs which would have generated a hefty amount of profit for criminals who are involved in drug supply.
"It is worrisome to imagine as to how many lives were going to be wasted through addiction and crime triggered by the use of these hardcore dependence producing substances," said Lebeya.
HAWKS SEIZE COCAINE WORTH R16 MILLION AT DURBAN HARBOUR
In May, members of the Durban Serious Organised Crime Investigation, Crime Intelligence and the SARS Tactical Intervention Unit (TIU) conducted a covert inspection after they received information about a container that was loaded with drugs inside a vessel from South America — Brazil to be specific.
While inspecting the container, a hidden compartment was discovered and inside, wrapped packages were found.
"Upon removing some of the panelling, the team discovered wrapped packages. The panelling was removed and a total of 32 cocaine bricks weighing approximately 1.1 kilograms were discovered inside the hidden compartment," said Mhlongo.
The street value, at the time, was R16 million however, police said the number could increase. There were also no arrests at the time the container was found.
"The street value of the seized drugs is approximately R16 million as per current corona embargo, however, the seized cocaine once diluted and mixed with other harmful substances, would have increased considerably in value in the streets," added Mhlongo.