BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Africa
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Thursday, 17 August, 2000, 09:23 GMT 10:23 UK
Arrests follow South African drugs haul

South African police have arrested six suspects after the seizure of the country's biggest ever drugs haul.

The drugs - 4.5 tonnes of mandrax tablets valued at about $30m - were discovered in an industrial area south of Johannesburg.

The haul is being hailed as a major breakthrough following growing indications that drugs are a major factor behind violent crimes.

Penuell Maduna
Justice Minister Maduna: South Africa's biggest drugs haul
Justice Minister Penuell Maduna said the suspected leader of the gang had been operating between South Africa and Mozambique for several months.

"This is the biggest find ever in the history of our country," the minister said.

Those arrested include two Portuguese citizens, a Mozambican and three South Africans.

Police confiscated 100,000 rand ($14,400) in cash from two of the suspects.

Suitcases

The tablets were found stored in 79 suitcases in an industrial area of Johannesburg on Monday.

Tablets
The white tablets are usually crushed and smoked
The authorities say the drugs originated in Indonesia and were smuggled into South Africa on a ship which docked at Port Elizabeth.

Mandrax, a synthetic depressant, is one of South Africa's most popular narcotics, thanks to its relatively cheap street price.

Containing the psychoactive ingredient methaqualone, mandrax in South Africa usually takes the form of white tablets which can be bought for as little as 20 rand ($3) each.

These tablets are often crushed and smoked in a broken bottle neck, sometimes in combination with marijuana.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories