Heroin traffickers on African drug route stopped at Warsaw airport

Arriving from Johannesburg, the Republic of South Africa, two women were detained at the Warsaw Chopin Airport trying to smuggle a total of 8.2 kg of heroin worth over PLN 1.7 mln (EUR 393,186).

The Netherlands’ national Dolores R. (name withheld in line with Polish privacy laws) was first detained on October 3, trying to smuggle 5 kg of heroin into Poland via the Warsaw airport. The Border Guards found the drug concealed in a double bottom of her suitcase.

The woman was transported to a local prosecutor’s office where she faced charges of “transporting a significant amount of drugs from Johannesburg via Doha, Qatar, to Warsaw.” She pleaded guilty and filed a comprehensive testimony. Investigators said that she would have received EUR 8,000 for the trafficking of the drug. Dolores R. will remain in custody for at least three months.

Three days later the Dutch citizen’s accomplice, UK national Aysha R., was also detained at the Warsaw Chopin Airport. She followed the same Johannesburg-Doha-Warsaw route as Dolores R. did, and a 3.2 kg load of heroin was also hidden in a double bottom of her suitcase.

Although she was charged with the same type of crime as the Dutch trafficker, Aysha R. did not plead guilty. She claimed that her suitcase broke in Johannesburg and that a woman whom she met in Tanzania lent her a helping hand giving her a heroin-containing suitcase. Aysha R. kept insisting she had not known of the drug stash, adding that her plan was to meet up with her Tanzanian friend in Warsaw.

The investigators were not convinced by the UK citizen’s story and also put her under arrest. Both women may face up to 16 years behind bars. It is the fourth in a row since July that an attempt at trafficking heroin via the so-called African route has been thwarted.

In June, the National Revenue Administration (KAS) employees secured 6 kg of heroin hidden in a Greek national’s suitcase. The man was also travelling from Johannesburg to Warsaw. A Spanish woman arriving in Warsaw from Madagascar was stopped in August trying to smuggle 5 kg of heroin.

An anti-drug police officer said that “these cases prove that the traffickers are operating with confidence and care little about possible slip-ups. This implies that much larger quantities of heroin were successfully trafficked. It is possible that the arrested individuals were mere decoys, in other words, expendable couriers to cover up the operation of others trafficking much larger amounts of drugs