The International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) recently hosted an Africa-led counter narcotics related operation in collaboration with Asia-Pacific countries focusing on air, land and sea borders.

The week-long operation, between 17 and 25 November 2017, was aimed at addressing the scourge of drugs and precursor chemicals flowing into Africa from Asia and vice versa. The operation achieved a total number of arrests amounting to 83 and a grand total of seizures of illegal contraband amounting to R36 186 300.

An additional objective was to address the escalation of other crimes such as illegal migration (undocumented persons), smuggling of contraband as well as an array of other illegal activities committed at borderlines and ports of entry.

The operation, which also sought to strengthen controls on air, land and sea borders, was carried out at the following ports of entry:
Air Ports: OR Tambo International, King Shaka International Airport and Cape Town International Airports.
Sea borders/ Coastlines included Durban Harbour, Cape Town Harbour, Port Elizabeth Harbour and City Deep dry port.
Land ports and borderlines consisted of Golele, Lebombo, Beitbridge, Skilpadshek, Ramatlabama, Kopfontein, Vioolsdrift, Nakop, Maseru Bridge, Ficksburg as well Pagamagate.

Some of the notable successes included the arrest of a Namibian man whose truck was intercepted on the 20th November 2017 and 11 000 Mandrax tablets seized at Kalahari Border. The truck was traveling from Johannesburg via Botswana to Namibia. He was arrested for drug trafficking.

Another person was arrested at ORTIA domestic departures as well as she was found in possession of a substance suspected to be Crystal Meth. Wanli Huang was travelling to Cape Town and she happened to be a repeat offender and who was previously arrested for the possession of Tik. She appeared at the Magistrates court in Kempton Park and the case was remanded to the 6th of December 2017.

On the 23rd of November 2017 at 23:35 a suspect, wanted for murder allegedly committed during March 2016 in in Ntuzuma was intercepted while trying to board a domestic flight at King Shaka International Airport to O R Tambo international Airport.

A consolidation of arrests and seizures saw 86 people of various nationalities arrested for a variety of crimes ranging from possession of counterfeit goods, stolen vehicles, an illegal firearm, livestock, abalone and drugs amounting to R36 186 300 million. The drugs seized included dagga, Heroin, Cocaine, Mandrax, Crystal Meth, Tik, Anabolic Steroids, as well as a new drug called “grey death”. Grey death is a street drug which is a mixture of other potentially deadly designer drugs.

These operations are not the first and are certainly not the last to be held at this scale. Such operations will be timed and executed strategically.