A consignment of drugs, weighing 541 kilograms and with an estimated value of more than R243 million, was confiscated in the early hours today at a container depot in Isipingo, 19km south of Durban.

Spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Philani Nkwalase said after information was received of the possible smuggling of drugs into the country, the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation team, with the members from Durban Harbour as well as Crime Intelligence Border Security, proceeded to the depot.

The container which supposedly had animal food was identified and a search was conducted.

’’Twenty-six canvas bags with Tik Tok and Jaguar brands were found with bricks of cocaine. The drugs weighing 541 kilograms with an estimated value of more than R243 million were confiscated,’’ he said.

’’An investigation to apprehend the perpetrators and prevent contraband drugs into our country is continuing.

National head of the Hawks Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya said after the seizure of the drug consignment: “We are closing in on the drug cartels. This drug bust shows that there are organised criminal groupings that are involved in organising the movement of these dangerous dependent producing substances from one country to the other.

’’While fighting the supply of these substances, we appeal to the community not to demand the supply which will ultimately help in closing the market.’’

Last week, police arrested three more people in connection with the discovery of 800kg of compressed cocaine worth R400 million in a 12-foot ski boat on the N1 near Centurion earlier this month.

The Hawks said Rafiek Baderoen, 44, Rashied Baderoen, 48, and Michael Norman, 38, were arrested at premises in Cape Town on 12 June after they were allegedly linked to the high-profile drug bust.

The Hawks said the bust was made possible by the collaborative efforts of various crime-busting elite organisations, which included FBI operation Trojan Shield and Australian Federal Police operation Ironsides, as well as the Hawks’ narcotics bureau.


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