Drug lab men old enough for trial

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Copy of Hillcrest Drugs 003 (38416038)


The heroin straws are stuck into blocks of Oasis foam  used for flower arrangements  in lots of 30 before they are heat-sealed.

Durban - A district surgeon’s age assessment of two men arrested in the Upper Highway drug lab last week has found that the two are 18 or older and can therefore stand trial as adults.

The pair appeared in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court on Monday, where it was confirmed they could stand before court as majors after a physical examination of their bodies to determine their estimated age.

The men’s first court appearance was held in camera after magistrate Ravi Pillay ordered the media and public out of the court because of the dispute about the two men’s ages.

They were among 19 men alleged to be illegal immigrants from Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe who were arrested after police raided a house in Alexandra Drive in Winston Park, Gillitts. They were allegedly working there packing drugs for distribution to other provinces.

This came after an extensive investigation by the national Crime Intelligence Unit, the SAPS counter-narcotics team and KwaZulu-Natal’s Hawks.

Police estimate the street value of the 50kg of heroin and 76 000 mandrax tablets at R41 million.

Equipment such as plastic heat sealers, drying trays and UV lights used to process and package the drugs was also found.

The heroin straws were stuck in oasis foam, commonly used for flower arrangements.

The two are due to make an application for bail with their 17 co-accused next week.

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