R12m drug bust's net to widen

Crime & Courts

Johannesburg - Gauteng police are investigating whether more people could be linked to the R12 million drug bust that led to the arrest this week of two men in Walkerville, south of Joburg.

Police suspect the pair are part of a syndicate involved in distributing drugs to various dealers in the country.

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Police have intercepted a drug manufacturing laboratory at a plot in Voortrekker road; Walkerville on Tuesday evening at about 22H00.Drugs chemicals and equipments with an estimated value of more than R12 Million were confiscated and two men both South Africans were arrested at the Scene.197
Picture: Matthews Baloyi 7/30/2014Walkerville. Drugs chemicals and equipments with an estimated value of more than R12 Million were confiscated and two men both South Africans were arrested at the Scene.170
Picture: Matthews Baloyi 7/30/2014

“More people may be arrested as investigations are continuing,” said provincial spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini.

The suspects were arrested on Tuesday night by Joburg north detectives.

They spent the night at the De Deur police cells and were brought back to the scene on Wednesday morning, where police were investigating.

The pair spent the day handcuffed outside a house belonging to one of them.

A garage used as a drug laboratory was cordoned off.

At the plot in Voortrekker Road, police discovered drugs, chemicals and equipment.

“Chemicals in powder and liquid form, pots, gas burners and a complete product of mandrax powder ready to be made into tablets were found,” Dlamini said.

He added that one man was caught sieving the powder, while some accomplices fled the scene.

Dlamini said police would also investigate whether the owner of the house was the rightful owner of three vehicles found on the property.

More than 12 police vehicles, marked and unmarked, aroused curiosity in the neighbourhood, with one neighbour, who asked not to be named, saying one of the men had been living there with his family for about 10 years.

He said the man once owned a filling station in Diepkloof, Soweto.

Other neighbours described the man as a “decent and quiet” person.

Another neighbour was shocked when she was informed the man was allegedly dealing in drugs.

“I thought something serious was going on. When I saw the police, I thought it was another robbery because they’ve been experiencing a few burglaries recently.

“I don’t think the wife is aware of this,” said the woman.

A few neighbours, also shocked by the alleged crime, described it as the worst in their area.

On Wednesday afternoon, Gauteng MEC for Community Safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane applauded the good working relationship between residents and the police.

“Improving community intelligence is one of our game-changers in the province. We are determined to ensure that we root out drug dealers, working with our communities.

“I appeal to the courts to expedite this case and give the perpetrators the harshest sentence,” he said.

“This will send a strong message that such atrocities cannot be tolerated in our communities.”

The two men were expected to appear in the Vereeniging Magistrate’s Court soon.

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The Star

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