PICS: Hawks raid plush KZN Eco Estate, seize R154m in drugs
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On its website, the plush Simbithi Eco Estate - about 50km’s north of Durban - describes the 430-hectare estate as the ‘embodiment’ of homely living in a “residential community that co-exists harmoniously with wildlife and nature”.
On Tuesday night, however, beyond the manicured “world-class golf course”, the members of the Hawks organised crime unit shattered the facade when they raided one of the multi-million rand units where they discovered over R154m worth of drugs.
The Hawks were accompanied by members of the Umhali SAPS and K9 Unit.
Armed with a search warrant, following weeks of surveillance the officers swooped on the vacant property and discovered several bags in rooms filled with chemicals and powders used to manufacture mandrax and heroin.
No one was present at the home when the police moved in but according to sources close to the investigation, arrests are imminent soon.
This is the second multi-million rand drug bust in KwaZulu-Natal in less than a week.
Last Wednesday, members of the Richard’s Bay Hawks found 342kgs of heroin worth R87m hidden in a secret compartment of truck coming from Mozambique that was headed towards Durban.
Tuesday’s bust in the upmarket Simbithi estate put a huge dent in the drug trade in South Africa sources said.
The house was being primarily as a storage facility for the key ingredients in making the illicit narcotics and its discovery had disrupted the illicit drug industry’s supply chain a police source said.
According to officers, in a garage at the premises, they found 200 50kg bags of suspected Anthranilic acid.
Anthranilic acid is a precursor for making methaqualone, more commonly known by its street name, mandrax.
Moving into the lounge area, 156, 25kg of mandrax powder totalling 3 900kg was found.
According to police sources, approximately 770 tablets can be produced from 1kg mandrax powder and the total number of mandrax tablets that can be produced from 39 00kg powder is estimated to be 300 3000.
Officers then moved into the sleeping quarters of the house and had to break through a locked bedroom door.
Here they found thousands of heroin capsules, mandrax tablets and heroin powder.
In total police discovered over 170 000 capsules, 5, 1kg heroin enclosed in Lavazza coffee packages, 1,5kg of heroin in a plastic packet and 1kg heroin in a plastic Tupperware.
According to police the total estimate of the haul is valued at R154.9m.
The KZN Police media centre had not responded with official comment at the time of publishing.