Customs officials of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) this morning successfully intercepted a large shipment of narcotics that were being smuggled into the country via the Johannesburg International Airport (JIA).
The narcotics - believed to be cocaine - were concealed as part of cargo freight on a SAA flight from Sao Paulo airport in Brazil to Johannesburg.
At this stage no arrests have been made.
The flight landed shortly after 6 am this morning. Customs officials risk profiled the shipment and physically searched the contents. Inspections found that the narcotics were concealed in the wooden handles of female handbags.
The drugs are estimated to total more 20 kilograms and at this stage is believed to have an estimated street value of more than R9 million. The confiscation followed on similar successes by the South African Police Service at JIA during the last 24 hours.
To date this is one of the largest consignments intercepted by SARS Customs at JIA. The large quantity demonstrates the threat syndicated crime and the smuggling of illicit items, including narcotics, pose to South Africa and its communities.
It also highlights the importance for SARS to further improve its border and trade control capabilities within its Customs Operations.
SARS investigators together with the Police will investigate the matter further. The consignment will be handed over to SAPS for verification once preliminary investigations have been concluded.
ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR THE SOUTH AFRICAN REVENUE SERVICE