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'Drug mules' caught transporting marijuana by donkey from Lesotho to South Africa

Police discovered a donkey train laden with bags of marijuana traveling from Lesotho to South Africa.
donkey drugs lesotho 2012 04 12Enlarge
Drug mules?: South African police have arrested eight men accused of transporting marijuana by donkey from Lesotho, through the Drakensberg mountains and into South Africa. (GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images)

JOHANNESBURG — South African police say they have uncovered a drug mule syndicate operating high in the Drakensberg mountains, along the border with Lesotho. 

Well, technically it would be a drug donkey syndicate, but close enough for a good headline.

Five men were arrested in the mountains for being in possession of marijuana, known locally as "dagga," worth about $230,000.

A day later, three more men were arrested after police came across a donkey train laden with bags of marijuana that had just traveled through the Mnweni pass, arriving near Bergville, the South African Press Association reported

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Those donkeys were carrying 28 bags of marijuana with a street value estimated at $125,000.

The eight men appeared in the Bergville Magistrate’s Court this week and will be back in court on April 18.

"We believed the suspects form part of a larger syndicate that transports the dagga by means of donkey back, from the Lesotho area through the mountain passes of the Drakensberg and into South Africa, where it then gets distributed to various parts of the country," Captain Thulani Zwane with the KwaZulu-Natal police told SAPA.

Apart from being a donkey dagga route, the Drakensberg area of South Africa is also a popular destination for hiking and mountain climbing. 

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