Cocaine worth USD870,000 seized in Durban harbour

Cocaine seizure off vessel in South Africa. Credit: South Africa Police Service

Cocaine with a street value of approximately USD870,000 was seized in a raid on a ship in the Port of Durban.

In a statement issued on 11 May 2020, the South African Police Service’s (SAPS’s) specialised organised crime investigation unit, known as the Hawks, said that it had received a tip-off that a vessel from Brazil, South America, was bringing the drugs into the country.

On 4 May, members of the Hawks, along with SAPS’s crime intelligence unit and the South African Revenue Service’s Tactical Intervention Unit (TIU), conducted a covert inspection on the ship.

“The inter-agency teams worked together and ensured that the targeted container was identified and upon opening it was found that there were other contents. While inspecting the container, a hidden compartment was discovered,” said Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo, a spokesperson for the Hawks.

“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 kg were discovered inside the hidden compartment,” he said.

While the cocaine, in its current state, was worth about USD870,000, once it was diluted and mixed with other harmful substances, its value would have increased considerably on the streets, the captain said.

He added that no arrests had been made at this stage and investigations were continuing.