A strange and extremely dangerous drug craze that started in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and involves the snorting or smoking of crushed powder from the ceramic core of catalytic converters resulted in three separate busts at OR Tambo International Airport on Friday.
Customs correspondent Riaan de Lange reports from London that the SA Revenue Services’ (Sars) dog detector unit intercepted the three shipments, weighing 2 649 kilograms, and valued at R21 million.
The contraband, smuggled in metal drums and bags, was headed for Dubai, Jordan and the United Kingdom.
Known as “Bombe” in Lingala, a lingua franca spoken in the DRC, the brown powder intoxicant is derived from scraping used ceramic coating of the honeycomb core of exhaust fume converters.
It takes its name from the “powerful” sensation it causes when mixed with pills and ingested, and authorities in Kinshasa last year reported that the craze had triggered a campaign “to stamp out the concoction and a related rash of car theft parts”.
Read our related customs story here: https://tinyurl.com/2p8ccxxs