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 South African Drug Smugglers Nabbed at Bali Airport With $1.5 Million Stash

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BerichtOnderwerp: South African Drug Smugglers Nabbed at Bali Airport With $1.5 Million Stash   South African Drug Smugglers Nabbed at Bali Airport With $1.5 Million Stash Icon_minitimewo 26 okt 2011 - 16:51

October 26, 2011

Denpasar. Police in Bali have arrested two South Africans for smuggling Rp 13.6 billion ($1.5 million) of methamphetamine into the country in the latest in a series of recent trafficking attempts originating in Africa.

Made Wijaya, head of the customs office at Denpasar’s Ngurah Rai International Airport, said on Wednesday that the pair, identified as Brett Theo Savage, 44, and Kedibone Sheilla Motsweneng, 38, were arrested separately, but both had arrived in the country on board Singapore Air flights from Johannesburg, by way of Singapore.

He said that Savage, a restaurant manager, was arrested on Oct. 19 with 2.993 kilograms of meth concealed in the lining of his suitcase. The drugs had an estimated value of Rp 7.4 billion.

Wijaya said that Motsweneng, a librarian, was arrested under identical circumstances on Sunday with 2.458 kilograms of the drug in her luggage. The second haul was valued at Rp 6.1 billion.

He added that after questioning the two, authorities arrested three men and a woman believed to be the intended recipients of the drugs. One of them was a Nigerian national.

Rahmat Subagio, Ngurah Rai customs head of investigations, said the South Africans appeared to have been well-versed with air security procedures to have made it as far as Bali undetected.

“This is considerable given they passed through Singapore, where security is famously strict. Perhaps the security for checked baggage wasn’t as strict,” he said.

Tommy Sagiman, the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) deputy for eradication, said there was a worrying increase in recent months in the number of attempted drug-smuggling attempts originating from Africa.

He added that the BNN had long known about syndicates operating from South Africa, but said this was the first time that they had used a Caucasian courier, Savage, to shift drugs to Indonesia.

“They’re always looking for cracks in security. If things become too tight here, they’ll move to other airports across the country,” he said.

In early September, a South African woman was arrested at Ngurah Rai with 1.05 kilograms of meth strapped to her body. Just days earlier, an autopsy of a Ugandan woman found dead at a hotel in Kuta revealed 72 plastic capsules with 1.119 kilograms of the drug in her digestive tract.

In July, authorities at Ngurah Rai arrested Ronald Semanda, 38, also from Uganda, who had swallowed 82 capsules containing 1.1 kilograms of meth.

Rahmat said that so far this year, customs officers across the country had foiled 101 drug-smuggling attempts, most of them at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Last year, 158 attempts were thwarted nationwide, up from just 88 in 2009.

Also on Wednesday, the Denpasar District Court sentenced Danish national Tine Rasmussen to five years in prison for smuggling 218 grams of hashish into the country from India via Thailand.

(x the JG)

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