Cape Town – In South Africa’s second-largest drug arrest, police seized a huge cocaine extract estimated at RR 583 million at the port of Saldanha Bay.
Police found 973 blocks of compressed cocaine in three compartments of the fishing vessel.
Ten foreign nationals, four Bulgarians and six Myanmarians, are expected to appear in the Vredenburg Magistrate’s Court today after they were arrested on Monday night and charged with drug trafficking.
Police spokeswoman Novela Potelwa said investigations were continuing as detectives wanted to determine the origin and intended destination of the shipment.
Gatwall spokesman Ashraf Schutt, who witnessed the operation, said criminals took advantage of the fact that Saldanha was a small port with fewer police.
“The police have been monitoring the situation for the last few weeks. As a result of yesterday (Monday), traffic police patrolled near the entrance to the port and somehow awaited the arrival of the vessel.
“The residents of Saldanha have enough drug smuggling going on in the port as it has created unemployment as only foreigners work there. We need better security because it shows that drug smuggling has been going on for months, if not years.
“We believe there were some drugs smuggled into the port without knowing it, as people drive up and down and load things. Things like that don’t happen all at once. It’s a continuous operation and they’ve certainly tested the base a few times,” he said.
Schutt said the community wants the port to be closed so police can thoroughly search the vessels.
“The community met after hearing about the bust and wants it shut down because we need to protect our property. Our children are dying from drugs and gangsterism, and there are bad criminal elements in the community, ”Schutt said.
Saldanha Bay County Board of Corporate Services and Public Safety board member Andre Truter said the collapse was an example of an effective intelligence police force.
“I hope this will lead to the source and the goal. This is a big breakthrough if we no longer enjoy drugs away from our communities and young people. This is a big blow to organized crime and it will show them that they cannot choose small municipalities and think they will find a safe haven, ”Truter said.
Police State Commissioner Khehla Sitole praised the team involved in the arrest and encouraged them to formulate a determined case that will give the suspects harsh punishments.
“South Africa should not be used as a transit point or destination for drug trafficking. We are responsible for removing drugs from our streets. This is a welcome disruption and a big blow to organized crime, ”Sitole said.[email protected]