Durban - Another upmarket home, this time in La Lucia, was raided for drugs on Thursday night.
The house, which has links to a pastor and a crime intelligence officer, was swooped on by the Durban Organised Crime Unit and crime intelligence.
South Africa’s chief of detectives, Lieutenant-General Vinesh Moonoo, confirmed the raid on Friday.
But after a lengthy search in the main house and outbuilding, police left empty-handed.
Two sources told the Daily News on Thursday night that police acted after receiving a tip-off that heroin was being stored in the house.
The palatial home is believed to be held in a trust by a Durban family.
The pastor is believed to rent the main house and the crime intelligence officer the outbuilding.
The warrant officer is believed to be an undercover agent in the SAPS.
A spokesman for the Durban family who owns the trust said they were alerted to the raid on Thursday night by the pastor.
The spokesman denied any knowledge of the drugs and said the family were clean.
“I do not live there. If anyone is looking for my family, they know where to find us,” he said.
“Our life is an open book. We are not hiding anything.”
He said the rental of the house was handled by an agent.
Police surrounded the house at about 5pm on Thursday. The crime intelligence officer was not at home.
Police apparently fetched him from a police training college.
The businessman said he had spoken to the pastor, who was “traumatised by the raid”.
“They broke a glass panel to gain access to the house. The pastor and his family were home at the time. They were shaken. They are considering their legal options.”
He said police left after half an hour and returned a short while later with the crime intelligence officer.
“His family are also upset with how the events played out. They were treated like criminals.”
The spokesman said police did not have a search warrant.
Moonoo said police did not need a warrant if they had “reasonable grounds to search the grounds”.
“There is no problem if we act in accordance with the law. Also, if delays in getting the warrant obstructs a search, we can go ahead without it.”
Moonoo said they would not delay or stop raids because of search warrant queries or concerns.
“We are committed to the fight against drugs. We will get into premises even if it means us breaking down doors and windows.”
He said damage claims could be lodged with the police.
Moonoo said the police were busy with drug-related operations nationally.
“We are focused on our fight against drugs throughout the country.
“Each province, including KZN, will have co-ordinated operations. These will be crime intelligence-driven,” he said.
He said there was also a strong focus on infiltrating cartels operating in upmarket suburbs.
Police were deploying all resources available to fight the drug war, he said.
“We are even using our units outside the border.
“Additional resources are also being deployed to the airports and harbours.”
He said drugs could be concocted in household kitchens.
“That is why we are using crime intelligence.
“All these laboratories must be found and closed.”
He said the police would work closely with the justice sector to ensure dockets made the court roll urgently and justice was meted out quickly.
“We are also working with our laboratories to conduct forensic analysis speedily.”
Moonoo’s message to the drug cartels in the country was clear: “You can run, but you cannot hide. We will find you.”