Hawks bust alleged drug trafficking syndicate operating in Southern Cape, Gqeberha

The suspects alleged to belong to drug trafficking syndicate were arrested on Thursday morning. File Picture

The suspects alleged to belong to drug trafficking syndicate were arrested on Thursday morning. File Picture

Published Mar 17, 2023


Cape Town - Sixteen suspects are expected to appear in the Oudtshoorn Magistrate’s Court on Friday on charges of drug trafficking.

According to the spokesperson in the Western Cape for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), Zinzi Hani, the suspects were arrested during a joint take-down operation during a series of raids across the Southern Cape and Gqeberha by joint police teams.

The suspects are aged between 32 and 58.

“Search warrants were executed by a multi-disciplinary team led by the Hawks in the Western Cape together with Crime Intelligence, Oudtshoorn K9 Unit, District Crime Combating Team, Public Order Policing Unit (POPS) as well as the Hawks teams based in George, Beaufort West, and the Eastern Cape.

“Seven suspects were arrested in Oudtshoorn, three in George, one in Gqeberha, one in Ladismith, two in De-Rust, and the last two in Calitzdorp.

“The take-down operation dismantled a syndicate of drug traffickers controlling the Southern Cape region at the break of dawn on Thursday, March 16, 2023, in their respective residences,” Hani said.

This syndicate was mainly operating in the Garden Route District, which is George, De-rust, Oudtshoorn, Ladismith, Pacaltsdorp, and Calitzdorp.

“The main suppliers of these drugs are from George and Gqeberha.

“It is reported that the main target has been operating for decades in dealing in drugs in the Oudtshoorn area,” Hani said.

The group of suspects faces charges of dealing in drugs, money laundering, and a pattern of racketeering activity.

“Since the inception of this operation from 2019 until March 2023, a total of 5354 mandrax tablets and 816 grams of Tik to the value of R421 070 were seized from the suspects.

“Consequently, a total of 32 cases were registered with 54 charges.

“The investigation had been ongoing over a period of time, helping the team to gain insight into the criminal activities of the syndicate.

“They will appear in the Oudtshoorn Magistrate’s Court on Friday, March 17, 2023, for their first appearance,” Hani added.

The provincial head of the Hawks, Major General Mathipa Makgato, commended the team for the sterling work and for showing tenacity to relentlessly pursue the suspects.

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