Durban - Crucial evidence, including quantities of drugs, was allegedly moved from an Upper Highway residence, which was being used as a drug manufacturing laboratory, shortly before a Hawks raid last week.
This was heard in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court when four men, who were arrested at the property, appeared on Monday.
Denver Joseph, 38, of Umgeni Park, Gonasagren Mooroogasen, 37, Norman Reyneud, 62, and Jerrico Chetty, 29, are charged with dealing in methaqualone, which is commonly known as mandrax.
Mooroogasen, Reyneud and Chetty all live in uMhlanga.
The men are also charged with making substances which can be used to unlawfully manufacture drugs.
The isolated and dilapidated Crestholme property was raided by the Hawks last Thursday. Detectives also found chemicals as well as equipment used to make drugs on the premises.
State advocate Wendy Greef said the police were opposed to the men’s being granted bail as it was believed that drugs had been moved from the house before the raid.
“A lot of stuff is believed to have been taken off the premises, including drugs. It could have been mandrax or the precursor chemicals that are used to manufacture the drug.”
Greef said two petrol bombs were also found at the home and police suspected that these were made to destroy evidence.
“There is a concern that an attempt will be made to destroy or dispose of evidence.”
She said a person, who posed as a police officer, tried to smuggle a cellphone to the men while they were in custody.
Greef said the men were not flight risks.
Attorney Manoj Haripersad, acting for Joseph and Reyneud, said the police should investigate the case and then reconsider their attitude to bail.
Attorney Noven Naidoo, who is representing Chetty and Mooroogasen, said his clients would be prejudiced if they had to be kept in custody for a lengthy period.
The case was adjourned to next week for a formal bail application and the men were remanded to Westville prison.
This is the second suspected drug-making operation that police have uncovered in the Upper Highway area this year.
A month ago, police found R20 million worth of mandrax, drug manufacturing and packaging equipment at a Kloof house.
Two Chinese nationals Yip Kin Hung and Wing Lik Wong and a Cape Town man, Warren Daniels, were arrested at the home. They will also apply for bail next week.