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HAWKS seize cocaine worth R720 million at Port of Ngqura, Port Elizabeth

Jan 8, 2019
HAWKS seize cocaine worth R720 million at Port of Ngqura, Port Elizabeth

The Hawks on Tuesday said that they have seized cocaine to the value of R720 million in an operation conducted at the Port of Ngqura, adjacent the Coega IDZ, just outside Port Elizabeth.

The cocaine weighing around 706kg was sniffed out of a container aboard a vessel that docked at the port and was coming from Brazil.

It is believed that the cocaine was destined for the Far East - India and Singapore.

"The value amount of this cocaine is over R720 million - that is an amount that could build a village, which means that it could have been a number of jobs that could have been created if we look at the loss that one can estimate," said National Head of the Hawks Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya.

"We are talking about the money could have been smoked and wasted and the people were at the same time going to be impoverished by that same amount.

"The only people, who were going to be happy are the drug cartels as they are the ones, who were going to benefit financially while those consuming [these drugs] are intoxicated.

'Cartel men had made an effort to conceal cocaine'

He said that the cocaine was concealed at the bottom of the floor of the ship.

"That is below more than 3 600 containers - which is 30 levels deep," Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya added.

"It means the crooks were determined to hide their consignment."

A Dutch Shepherd dog, named Kikki, sniffed out the drugs.

Lebeya said that the Hawks were working on the Coega cocaine bust for the past 12 days.

Cocaine and drug smuggling a lucrative business for cartels

The illegal drug trade or drug trafficking is a global black market dedicated to the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of drugs that are subject to drug prohibition laws. Most jurisdictions prohibit trade, except under license, of many types of drugs through the use of drug prohibition laws.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime's World Drug Report 2005 estimates the size of the global illicit drug market at US$321.6 billion in 2003 alone.

With a world GDP of US$36 trillion in the same year, the illegal drug trade may be estimated as nearly 1% of total global trade. Consumption of illegal drugs is widespread globally and remains very difficult for local authorities to thwart its popularity.

Drug cartels based mostly in South America are known to be responsible for most of the world's illegal drugs production and distribution.

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