Multi-million Rand narcotics seizure at Port Elizabeth harbour

PRETORIA – More than R85 million worth of narcotics was seized at Port Elizabeth Harbour (Ngqura Port) over the weekend following an intelligence-driven multi-disciplinary integrated operation by the Ports of Entry team on a vessel from Ecuador, South America.

The operation was conducted from intelligence that two containers were suspected of having narcotics on board.

The suspected containers were on-board a vessel that had docked in Port Elizabeth at the Ngqura Port. The team which included Customs Investigations, the K9 unit and SAPS Border Police, were duly activated and the process initiated to trace and secure the two containers.

The inter-agency teams worked together and ensured that the targeted containers were removed to the container depot and upon opening the containers it was found that the contents were bananas as described on the bill of lading and which also indicated that the container was destined for Cape Town.

The cartons of bananas were physically checked both inside and outside of the container.  Upon inspecting the rear refrigeration unit, a hidden compartment was discovered.

Upon removing some of the panelling the team discovered packages wrapped in brown tape. The panelling was removed and a total of 40 packages, which tested positive for cocaine, were discovered in both the containers. Further profiling was conducted and discovered that there were a further two (2) containers that were linked to the product type and packaging methodology on the same vessel.  The team immediately decided to secure the containers. In the early hours of Sunday morning at around 01:00, the sniffer dog reacted positively to the same rear refrigeration panelling as the previous two containers earlier.  All role players jointly then removed the panelling and discovered a further 45 bricks wrapped in brown packaging tape which tested positive for cocaine with an estimated weight of 45 kilograms in both containers. A total of 85 bricks with an approximate weight of 85 kilograms and an estimated street value of R85 Million were seized. 

High levels of collaboration between stakeholders at the port have once again paid off.

There have been breakthroughs made as a result of the on-going proactive fight against crime especially the proliferation of drugs coming into and through the port.  Investigations are continuing.

Source: saps.gov.za

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U.S. seizes $1 billion worth of cocaine from ship in Philadelphia

(Reuters) – Federal authorities seized 16.5 tons of cocaine worth more than $1 billion from a ship in Philadelphia in one of the largest drug seizures in U.S. history, the U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday.

Federal, state and local law enforcement agents on Monday boarded the MSC Gayane, a cargo ship docked in Philadelphia’s Packer Marine Terminal, and found cocaine in seven shipping containers, according to a criminal complaint filed in Philadelphia federal court.

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Source: reuters.com

Maritime security: “The Indian Ocean has become a hub for drug trafficking,” says SAJ

BY EMILY PAYEN, BY PREITY RAMESSUR-BHOYROO

A presentation by the Ministerial Maritime Security in Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean (ESA-OI) took place at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Tuesday 11 June. The meeting was attended by Minister Mentor Sir Anerood Jugnauth and Minister of Foreign Affairs Nando Bodha.

“The Indian Ocean has become a hub of drug trafficking,” said the minister’s mentor. He explained that “we must take steps to counter this problem.”

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Source: defimedia.info

Naval service specialists deliver training to Kenyan forces

Royal Marines and Royal Navy specialists have been showing Kenyan security forces how to improve their ability to fight piracy, illegal fishing and drugs trafficking.

Specialists from 1 Assault Group Royal Marines’ Board and Search School and landing craftsmen from 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group travelled to Mombasa – Kenya’s second-largest city and one of Africa’s biggest trading hubs – to deliver training and share expertise.

The contingent, made up of Royal Marines and Royal Navy ranks, were part of the Tri-Service British Peace Support Team, an organisation that aims to aid United Nations and African Union Peace Support Operations.

The training group sought to understand the current situation that is impacting Kenya’s economy and create a coherent strategy for the future as they look to shore up security in the Indian Ocean port.

The training aimed to help Kenyan security forces become better equipped to deal with the threats they face and develop a clear plan to continue protecting their waters.

The majority of Kenyan trade comes through Mombasa and shutting down criminal activity is a priority for the country’s security forces.

Around 30 personnel from a variety of Kenyan agencies came to train and learn how to conduct successful board and search of suspicious vessels.

The first part of the training consisted of classroom-based sessions on board and search operations at sea, before phase two saw coastguard, police and port authority teams work together to practise their new skills in the water.

The training included an opening and closing ceremony attended by high ranking dignitaries, which included a demonstration of the skills learned during the sessions.

A further training package is now being arranged later this year.

Source: royalnavy.mod.uk

HMCS Regina completes two more drug busts in 4 days

In just 4 days, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Regina, under the command of the Pakistan led Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, conducted its second and third illegal narcotic hauls, seizing and destroying just over 4,500Kgs of hashish and 10 Kgs of heroin.

CTF 150 is a multinational maritime force whose mission is to maintain maritime security and prevent illegal activity across the Arabian Sea, Southern Red Sea and Western Indian Ocean. Covering an area of 2.3m square kilometers, CTF 150 works with its coalition partners to help prevent illegal narcotics.

Commodore Alveer Ahmed Noor Si, Commander CTF150 said: “The Pakistan Navy command team is determined to maintain good order at sea through adept deployment of CTF150 Units. Effective Command and Control and close coordination with deployed assets has resulted in the successful seizure of a sizable amount of narcotics. Maritime Domain Awareness and Maritime Security Cooperation between relevant stakeholders is a necessity to overcome various maritime challenges and protect global commerce”.  He went onto say: “As Commander of Combined Task Force 150, my aim is to continue working together with regional players, participating nations and maritime organisations in order to further augment collaboration with regional states and harness their support, which remains pivotal for maintaining maritime security throughout the region”.

On the 14th and 18th April, HMCS Regina spotted two suspicious dhows, off the coast of Oman in an area known as the “Hash Highway.” The ship deployed its Naval Tactical Operations Group (NTOG) team – working as the boarding team for the ship, and seized hauls of illegal hashish and heroin, which were transferred to HMCS Regina and subsequently destroyed.

Commander Jacob French, Commanding Officer HMCS Regina “We’re honoured to be contributing to counter-terrorism and maritime security efforts in the Middle East, ensuring the funding from illegal narcotics is staying out of the hands of criminal and terrorist organisations. I’m extremely proud of the hard work of our ship’s company, and we remain ready to continue our mission and support CTF 150 and the Combined Maritime Forces.”

Lt (N) Jacob Killawee, NTOG Officer in Charge said, “Our priority when boarding these ships is the safety and welfare of the fishermen we encounter, drugs being there or not. In order to effectively deter and disrupt the flow of narcotics that is funding terrorism, it’s just as important for us to build trust with the people who are being exploited by those same actors who wish to do us harm. We are trained and prepared for a worst case scenario, but treating the crew with dignity and respect makes our job easier and safer for everyone involved. Our success validates the hard work we’ve done in preparation for this deployment, ensuring that we were in the right place, with the right training and equipment to achieve this result.”

Source: combinedmaritimeforces.com

Regina makes second drug bust

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

HMCS Regina and crew completed a second sizable drug bust following the seizure of approximately 3,000 kilograms of hashish of the coast of Oman.

The Canadian warship is participating in Operation Artemis and the Canadian Armed Forces Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, part of an international counter-terrorism and maritime security operations in the Indian Ocean involving the combined maritime forces of 33 nations.

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Source: lookoutnewspaper.com