’Godmother’ linked to violent Wentworth drugs gang gunned down
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Durban - DURBAN’S own drugs godmother, a Wentworth woman linked to an intense drug war in the south Durban suburb which has already claimed several lives, died in hospital after being gunned down on the Bluff yesterday.
Jasmin Simon, known in the community as “Moni”, was shot just after she got into a metered taxi on the corner of Marine Drive and Blackpool Road.
According to sources, Simon had just taken her seat in the taxi when gunmen shot her. It is alleged one of the gunmen opened the door of the taxi and shot her at close range. It is thought six shots were fired in her direction.
The taxi driver fled on foot for his own safety when the shots rang out, but returned to his vehicle when the gunmen ran away and rushed Simon to hospital. Despite efforts to save her, she died of her wounds in hospital.
Simon, 35, was out on bail and was facing charges of murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. She was said to be part - and some say head - of the drugs gang known as “The Cartel”, which was formed three years ago in Wentworth.
Simon was due to appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court in two weeks along with five men thought to be gang members.
In August, police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker reported that Simon, Kyle Pretorius (known as “Para”), Tyrel Martin, Trese Pretorious (known as “Mini”), Chad Marais and Mthandeni Masilva Khoza had been arrested. The charges against the six emanated from an incident on July 10 at Gulmal Crescent in Wentworth, when two men were shot.
One of the two, Bradley Armugum, 24, died in hospital while the other was hospitalised with gunshot wounds.
Armugum had been at his home on Simla Road in nearby Merebank when a colleague arrived in a tow truck, parked opposite and hooted for him to come out.
He emerged from the house and got into the passenger seat of the vehicle. As the two talked, a silver VW Polo pulled up alongside the tow truck and its occupants fired several shots at the men in the vehicle.
Sources said with Jasmin’s gang members locked up following the shooting, she had become vulnerable and an easy target. Rival gangs included the Hollywood gang, Drain Rats, G-Section and Destroyers.
Police said earlier that during their investigation of the July 10 incident, they had discovered that Martin and Pretorius were out on parole at the time of the shooting. Pretorius had also been linked to an attempted murder on March 15 on Tifflin Road, Wentworth, where a man and woman were shot and injured.
In a further development, Wentworth policeman Warrant Officer Brian James was arrested at the police station last month and also charged with conspiracy to murder. Allegations were that James had assisted The Cartel.
Wentworth Community Police Forum spokesperson Donny Anderson yesterday called for the murders to stop.
“Lives are being lost. Families are suffering. This is happening on a weekly basis. We need provincial police to heed our cry and send in help in the form of foot patrols. Allow the provincial task team to deal with all these cases. They have teams capable of doing this, although by no means are we undermining the local police station,” he said.
Brighton Beach police are investigating a case of murder in connection with Simon’s slaying.
*In an earlier version of this online story the Daily News had an incorrect picture of the victim. We apologise for the harm it may have caused the family.