Police recover state firearm from man arrested in Wentworth operation
DURBAN - A POLICE firearm was recovered from a man who was arrested in Wentworth over the weekend.
Cocaine was also found on the man and another firearm was found abandoned on the ground on Hime Street on Saturday night.
Police spokesperson Thembeka Mbele said the operation was conducted by Provincial Headquarters Organised Crime detectives, Crime Intelligence and metro police.
“A suspect, 22, was arrested for the possession of an unlicensed firearm (9mm Z88) and ammunition (15 live rounds) belonging to the police, and one 38 special with three rounds of ammunition,” said Mbele.
She said police also found cocaine wrapped in 26 plastic bags with a street value of R13 000.
Mbele said the suspect will appear in court today.
Metro police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad said police had received information that men belonging to the “Hime Street Gang” were in the Wentworth area with unlicensed firearms.
Sewpersad said the officers proceeded to Hime Street and saw the men sitting outside Hime Street flats. They managed to apprehend three men and one was found with the 9mm and live rounds.
He was also found with a black bag around his body which contained the cocaine.
Sewpersad said they then searched the area and also found a .38 special revolver abandoned on the ground with three live rounds.
“One will see more of these kinds of joint operations in the Wentworth area to eradicate the gang turf wars that have been plaguing the community,” said Sewpersad.
“The community is urged to work closely with factual information through the community police forum (CPF) structures.”
KZN violence monitor Mary de Haas said there were many possibilities on how a police firearm ended up in the hands of the suspect.
The firearm could have been stolen when the police officer was attacked, injured or killed, or it could have been stolen from his home.
There are even cases of children going to school with their father’s firearm.
“There are so many ways of police losing firearms. It has happened that police officers are killed and their firearms are taken.
“But sometimes they are stolen from a police officer’s home if it is not properly secured. Sometimes it’s stolen from the police station because you get guns going missing from stations,” said De Haas.
She said it also depended who the firearm belonged to.
De Haas added that there had been discussions on whether police should take firearms home because it might make them more vulnerable.
“The important thing is that the owner of the firearm is traced, whether he or she is alive or dead, and that the guy who had the firearm reveals where he got it from, but he probably won’t tell, and how it came to his possession,” said De Haas.
Wentworth CPF chairperson Pastor Donovan Anderson said since the task team went into Wentworth, it has been very quiet.
The task team has done a fantastic job so far.
Anderson said they were happy that there were a lot of arrests in 2020 and those arrested were denied bail.
“It’s actually helping us because we had a very quiet Christmas and New Year, although Covid is the main priority right now, but when it comes to crime, it’s being eliminated a lot. We are trusting that more of these guys are going to go in,” said Anderson.
“So it’s looking good for our area, it’s looking good for our station.”
Anderson said unfortunately the Wentworth police station had been hit badly by Covid-19 – they have already lost about four police officers to the virus.