Cape Town man who ran hydroponic cannabis lab sentenced

Joseph Hughes, 25, was sentenced for drugs and drug trafficking. Photo: Hawks

Joseph Hughes, 25, was sentenced for drugs and drug trafficking. Photo: Hawks

Published Oct 12, 2023


A 25-year-old man from Cape Town has been sentenced in the Khayelitsha Priority Court on charges of possession of drugs according to the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act.

Joseph Hughes entered into a plea agreement with the State.

The Western Cape spokesperson for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (known as Hawks), Warrant Officer Zinzi Hani said Hughes was arrested on December 2, 2022, following a search and seizure operation.

The operation was executed by the Hawks’ South African Narcotics Enforcement Bureau team together with Crime Intelligence Counter Narcotics and Gangs, K9 Unit, and Flying Squad at Hughes’ property in Constantia after officials received a tip-off about a suspect operating a cannabis hydroponic laboratory.

Hani said once inside the premises, the investigating team established seven rooms were used for the cultivation of cannabis.

An assortment of several cannabis plants were found on the premises.

“Six bags of dagga heads, six kilograms of dagga heads, 754 dagga trees, 10 kilograms of dried dagga stems with heads on, and 315 rounds of ammunition were found. The all-inclusive value of cannabis surpasses R1.5 million,” Hani said.

Since his arrest, Hughes was out on R50,000 bail until he pleaded guilty.

The court sentenced Hughes to five years imprisonment or a fine of R200,000 which is wholly suspended for a period of five years on condition he is not convicted of the same offence. The value of Hughes’ proceeds of unlawful activities and or related unlawful activities was more than R100,000.

A confiscation order was granted for R100,000 which was deposited into the Criminal Asset Recovery Account (CARA).

[email protected]