The South African Revenue Service (SARS) officials arrested a South African student who reportedly had US dollars worth almost R10m in her hand luggage when she boarded a flight at OR Tambo International Airport
The student was apparently on his way to Hong Kong.
SAPS spokesperson Sicelo Mkosi said the flight was scheduled to depart when the agents landed.
"Initially she denied having money in her possession, but after further questioning she admitted that she had a substantial amount in her backpack," Mkosi said in a statement.
He said that she was taken to the search area of the customs, where she was placed in an interview room and asked for a passenger card to be filled.
"The passenger stated verbally that she had 650,000 US dollars in her bag, admitted that she was not the owner of the currency, and could not provide proof of ownership," Mkosi added.
A criminal case of smuggling money and not being able to indicate that it is registered, he said.
"SARS continues to appreciate the constructive cooperation between ACSA (the Airports Company or SA), SAPS (SA Police Service), DPCI (Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation), Asset Forfeiture Unit (NPA) and the State Security Agency (SSA), it yields positive results in the fight against the plague of illegal cash flows, "said Beyers Theron, acting chief officer: Customs and Excise.
The police could not be reached immediately for an update of the case.