In what is believed to be a first, South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers confiscated close to R20 million ($1.5 million) worth of “sexual enhancement drugs” from Mozambican smugglers during border patrols.
The “illicit drugs” were found on a taxi, stopped by a 7 SAI section after clearing the Lebombo port of entry between Mozambique and South Africa.
“As soon as the vehicle stopped its occupants made a run for it and fled the scene. The reason for their hasty departure soon became evident. Upon a search of the vehicle just over R19 million ($1.2 million) worth of illicit drugs, which according to experts were sexual enhancement pills, were discovered. The consignment consisted of about R15 million (944,000) worth of Vigore tablets and about R4.8 million ($302,000) worth of Cobra tablets bringing the grand total to R19,800,000 ($1,245),” a Lieutenant Franz attached to Joint Tactical Headquarters, Mpumalanga, reported.
Military police were summoned and the confiscated drugs handed to what is said to be Mpumalanga Port Health Services. The infantry section’s stop and search is one standard procedure along with foot and mounted patrols as part of Operation Corona’s ongoing border protection actions.
Ahead of the festive season, Op Corona soldiers have seen an increase in cross-border crimes and confiscated stolen cars, drugs and other contraband. For example, 121 SA Infantry Battalion, is proving to be a thorn in the side of dagga smugglers.
The Mtubatuba-based soldiers recently added three more dagga busts to an already impressive tally.
Over the past weeks, regular patrols have witnessed busts followed this week – to date – by three in the Pongola vicinity. Additionally, the KwaZulu-Natal infantry unit assisted police with destruction of over two tons of confiscated dagga impounded in the Pongola area of responsibility adjoining Eswatini.
The dope that went up in flames was found in a covered truck stopped recently in the Belgrade area. The latest dagga busts to make it on the 121 “brag board” were in the Pongola area. A joint roadblock with police on the N2 netted over six kilogramme of the weed, conservatively valued at R19,710 ($1,240).
The second bust took harder effort with soldiers resorting to feet on the ground in pursuit of a suspected dagga smuggler. Their efforts were rewarded with two arrests and R10,770 ($677) worth of dagga confiscated.
Bust number three was at Belgrade on the Eswatini border when “suspicious actions” by a woman carrying a plastic bag drew a patrol’s attention. Deciding discretion was the better part of valour the woman dropped her bag and ran to the border to escape the South African soldiers.
The soldiers didn’t apprehend a suspect but did find just on 12kg of dagga (valued at R33,000/$2,073), which is now under lock and key at Pongola police station. Vehicles have also been seized and SANDF said at the weekend that four Artillery Regiment confiscated a single cab Toyota Hilux valued at R520,000 ($32,690) at Gumbu mine while smugglers were trying to move it into Zimbabwe.
In another incident, the same unit was manning a vehicle control point at Dongola Kop when they seized a Nissan bakkie valued at R120,000 ($7,535). The vehicle was carrying R440,000 ($27,636) worth of illicit cigarettes. Vehicle and cigarettes were handed to the SA Revenue Service/Customs at the Beitbridge port of entry.
- A Tell report