JOHANNESBURG – SARS officials discovered close to 10kg of cocaine hidden in 10 handbags in a false compartment of a passenger’s luggage on Monday.
Customs officers stopped a Guyanese female passenger who had disembarked at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg in transit from Sao Paolo to Maputo.
The passenger was brought to the search area where her luggage was removed from the transit flight and searched.
During inspection, cocaine weighing 9.985kg and valued at R2,872,684 was found concealed in her luggage.
SARS said during the 2014/2015 financial year there were eight incidents at OR Tambo International Airport where the modus operandi was using handbags to conceal narcotics.
The weight of the seizures varied, with the lowest being 2.895kg and the highest being 16.82kg.
In a statement released on Thursday, SARS said, “This (handbag) concealment method allows for smugglers to attempt to bring in large quantities, as opposed to swallowers and those that use body wraps..”
SARS said it will continue to do everything in its power to ensure that illicit substances, such as narcotics, are prevented from entering or leaving South Africa.
The passenger was handed over to the South African police for further investigation.