Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
SOUTH African police have arrested two women, a Zimbabwean and one from Lesotho, for attempting to smuggle 28 kilogrammes of illicit drugs worth R8 million (almost 0 000) into that country through Beitbridge Border Post.
Memory Mapurisa (39) (Zimbabwean) and Vuyiswa Mabaso (23) (from Lesotho) were intercepted by a patrol team comprising customs and police officers on Sunday night.
Sources said Mapurisa was found with 18kg of ephedrine, while her accomplice, Mabaso had 10kg of the same drug.
Ephedrine is “a precursor chemical that can be used to make amphetamine-type substances such as heroin.”
The pair appeared in the Musina Magistrates’ Court yesterday on charges of possessing drugs and were remanded in custody to next Tuesday pending further investigations.
Limpopo police spokesperson Colonel Ronel Otto said the suspects were arrested while walking across the bridge from Zimbabwe into South Africa.
“They were stopped and searched by members from the South African Revenue Services who found the drug-like substance,” she said.
“The assistance of the police was called in and it was determined that the women were carrying ephedrine, one of the main substances of heroin.”
Col Otto said investigations were in progress to establish where the women were coming from and their final destination.
The smuggling of drugs, explosives and cigarettes has become rife at the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa, a situation that has forced authorities from both countries to scale up joint patrols.
The smuggling of the drugs came shortly after South African authorities intercepted 80kg of cocaine worth R23 million that were being smuggled into that country in a haulage truck.
Recently, a 41-year-old woman from Bulawayo was fined R20 000 by a Musina magistrate after she was found guilty of smuggling 40 detonators into that country.