In a startling revelation, the Hawks, South Africa’s elite law enforcement unit, have exposed a drug trafficking network operating within the confines of OR Tambo International Airport.
Shockingly, among those apprehended, airport staff members from critical departments have been implicated in the illicit activities. Specifically, one arrested individual is employed in the safety department, while another is linked to the electrical maintenance department.
According to timeslive.co.za, this was disclosed by the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) on Friday.
Two of the other suspects arrested this week are employees of Menzies Aviation and one works for Swissport. Menzies Aviation manages the global transportation of high-value and time-critical cargo, while Swissport is an aviation services company that provides cargo handling services to Acsa.
The arrests are linked to a consignment of drugs worth R500m recently seized in Australia, making this the first operation of its kind concerning transnational drug trafficking perpetrated through OR Tambo, where a drug seizure made abroad was positively linked to suspects in South Africa for their alleged complicity.
Acsa regional GM Jabulani Khambule said the company would continue to support the police investigation and co-operate fully with the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority to ensure the perpetrators are brought to book.
“We are committed to stamping out illegal behaviour by our employees and to countering drug trafficking through our airports. We hope these arrests send a strong message to any employees who might be contemplating getting involved in such illicit activities. Don’t do it, you will be caught.”
Acsa said it recently adopted an integrated, multi-agency safety and security approach throughout its environment to enhance airport and aviation security in general. The group rolled out an aviation security model that is integrated with law enforcement authorities to root out criminality.