South African air crew bailed after drug find

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The Independent Online

The crew of a South African Airways (SAA) plane, who were arrested after drugs were found in baggage at London's Heathrow airport, were freed on bail today, customs officials said.

The entire crew -- 10 women and five men, including three pilots - was held after arriving on a flight from Johannesburg yesterday.

Officers seized 50 kg of cannabis, worth about 150,000 pounds, and four kg of cocaine with an estimated street value of 160,000 pounds, in three pieces of luggage that had arrived on the flight.

After questioning, the crew members were all released without charge on unconditional bail pending further inquiries, British customs officials said.

They are due to report back to investigators at Heathrow police station on March 23.

SAA, owned by the South African government, said it was cooperating fully with the British authorities.

"The airline has also launched an investigation into this matter involving SAA Aviation Security and the SAPS (South African Police Service) Crime Intelligence Unit," SAA said in a statement.