Suspected Drug Couriers Intercepted with R2 Million Worth of Meth on Way to Israel at OR Tambo

Two individuals detained for drug trafficking at OR Tambo International Airport in Gauteng appeared in Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

On Sunday, June 16, Hawks officers detained Pieter Johan Cristie, 51, and Belinda Butcher, 52, during an operation.

Warrant Officer Thatohatsi Mavimbela, the Hawks’ provincial spokesperson, stated that the multi-disciplinary operation involved the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime unit, Crime Intelligence, OR Tambo K9 Dog Unit, State Security Agency, SARS Customs, and Etihad Airlines.

The operation at OR Tambo International Airport led to the arrest of two individuals who were intercepted. Mavimbela said he had received information about two alleged drug mules who were planning to smuggle drugs from South Africa to Israel.

The drugs, tik (methamphetamine), were found in the duo’s suitcase.

“The two suspects were identified, and after inspecting their luggage, 1.75 kg of crystal meth was discovered on Cristie’s luggage and 0.90 kg in Butcher’s suitcase. The medications have an estimated worth of R2 million. Investigations also revealed that this was not the suspects’ first time trafficking drugs,” Mavimbela stated.

Major General Ebrahim Kadwa, the head of the Hawks in Gauteng, congratulated the investigative team on their extraordinary accomplishment and warned the public not to let desperation lead them to be recruited as drug mules.

The two are scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday, June 25, for a formal bail application.

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