South Africa-Sailors-Drugs

Foreign sailors arrested in cocaine bust in S/African waters

APA-Cape Town (South Africa)

Ten foreign sailors have been arrested while in possession of nearly US$40-million worth of cocaine hidden in a ship while sailing in South African waters off the coast of Saldanha Bay, the police said on Tuesday.

According to the South African Police Service, tactical forces led by the Western Cape province’s organised crime narcotics unit detectives seized the massive cocaine haul worth US$38.8 million from a fishing vessel off the coast of Saldanha Bay on Monday night.

The foreigners – four Bulgarians and six nationals from Myanmar – are in custody and charged with dealing in drugs following the late-night raid, the police said.

The raid followed an “extensive” intelligence-driven operation which saw the tactical forces descending on the vessel where 973 blocks (bricks) of compressed cocaine were found hidden in three compartments of the vessel, the police added.

“Further investigations are continuing to determine the origin of the drugs as well as the intended destination of the consignment,” Western Cape police spokesperson Novela Potelwa said.

She added: “The South African Police Service management has hailed the find as a step in the right direction in efforts to deal with the illicit drug trade” in the country.

The suspects would appear in the Vredenburg Magistrate Court soon after the investigations, Potelwa said.

NM/jn/APA

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