South Africa

Hawks bust alleged drug mules at OR Tambo, seize R2m in crystal meth

Hawks bust allege drug mules at OR Tambo seize R2m in crystal meth

Two alleged drug mules were arrested for dealing drugs at OR Tambo International Airport on Sunday after being found with R2 million worth of crystal methamphetamine (tik).

51-year-old Pieter Johan Cristie and 52-year-old Belinda Butcher were intercepted at the airport by members of the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation Crime Intelligence, OR Tambo K9 Dog Unit, State Security Agency, the South African Revenue Service Customs, and Etihad Airways for dealing in drugs and contravention of the Drug Trafficking Act 140 of 1992.

Gauteng Hawks spokesperson Warrant Officer Thatohatsi Mavimbela said information was received about two suspected drug mules who would be travelling from South Africa to Israel to transport drugs.

Crystal meth found in luggage

“The two suspects were identified, and upon searching their luggage, 1,75 kg of crystal meth was found in the luggage belonging to Cristie, and 0,90 kg of crystal meth was found in Butcher’s luggage. The estimated value of the drugs is R2 million,” Mavimbela said.

According to the Hawks, investigations revealed that this is not Cristie and Butcher’s first attempt at trafficking drugs.

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The two suspects have made their first appearance at Kempton Park Magistrate Court, and the matter is postponed to Tuesday, 25 June for a formal bail application.

Major General Ebrahim Kadwa, the provincial head of the Gauteng Hawks, congratulated the investigative team on their accomplishment and urged the public to never let desperation fool them into becoming drug mules.

Alleged drug mule, 70, arrested at Cape Town Airport

Earlier in the month, on 6 June, the Hawks’ South African Narcotics Enforcement Bureau team based in Bellville and Border Police based at the Cape Town International Airport arrested a 70-year-old suspect on charges of dealing in drugs.

“The Hawks received information regarding a foreign national who is an alleged drug mule leaving South Africa. The information was immediately operationalised. The suspect was spotted, and upon searching his luggage, packets of crystal methamphetamine (tik) were found in a hidden compartment,” said Western Cape Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Siyabulela Vukubi.

The team recovered 4,1 kg of tik to the value of R600 000.

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