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Hume International addresses shipment ‘hi-jacking’ by drug trade

Hume International is deeply disturbed by the ‘hi-jacking’ of one of its shipment containers to traffic illicit drugs, and has applauded South African authorities for uncovering the crime before the drugs were distributed.


This follows the discovery that a shipment of frozen chicken mechanically deboned meat (MDM) originating from a longstanding company supplier in Brazil had been exploited by criminal entities to transport cocaine with an estimated street value of R80 million. Fortunately, the Hawks and the local police received a critical tip-off, leading to the discovery that the meat had been replaced by the drugs which were then concealed within the containers. The interception took place at a cold storage facility near Durban harbour.


Addressing the matter, Hume International Managing Director Fred Hume states that the organisation has launched a thorough investigation into the incident. The company is actively engaging with all authorities, Seara and all logistics partners in its supply chain to scrutinise the matter and institute preventive measures to ensure such events do not occur in the future.


“Sadly, this type of shipment ‘hijacking’ is not unheard of among South African importers, as criminal activities at our country’s ports are a reality. A similar incident happened to a paint importer from Brazil earlier this week, and over the years, various shipments of poultry from Brazil have been found to be carrying cocaine,” he said.


Hume International has been a part of the food import industry for over 25 years, and this is the first time it has encountered an event of this nature.


“I can confirm that Hume International is actively collaborating with all relevant authorities and government departments, and providing full cooperation and information to support their investigations.”


The Hawks will be conducting a thorough second inspection of the remaining containers transported on the same vessel to confirm the absence of any further drugs. Furthermore, representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALLRD) will be present during this second inspection to assess the potential risk of contamination in the remaining containers. If such a risk is identified, the entire consignment will be destroyed to uphold the highest food safety standards.


Hume reaffirmed the company's commitment to full compliance with all local import regulations and the rigorous maintenance of stringent food safety standards.


“I would like to applaud the diligent work of the Hawks and the law enforcement personnel in uncovering the drugs and preventing them from being distributed. And finally, we would like to offer all valued clients and partners our reassurance that we remain dedicated to maintaining the integrity of our operations, as well as to upholding the same globally recognised standards of excellence for which we are known,” he concludes.

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