30/08/2012. Some of the chemicals and equipment that was used to manufacture drugs in a house in Quaggasrand. Picture: Oupa Mokoena

Pretoria - Residents of the quiet suburb of West Park were woken on Thursday by the sound of police breaking down a palisade fence at a house where they uncovered a drug laboratory and drugs worth millions of rand.

The raid was a joint operation by SAPS criminal intelligence officers and the Hawks.

The two law enforcement agencies had been keeping an eye on the suspect, believed to be a Nigerian, who had been renting the house.

Police swooped on the house on Wednesday in the hope of arresting the suspect but he was nowhere to be found.

As police searched the three-bedroomed house they found chemicals used to make crystal meth, commonly known as tik.

Police spokesman Colonel Vish Naidoo said they believed they had now nipped supply of the drug in the bud.

The amount of drugs found suggested that a multimillion-rand operation was being run from the property, Naidoo said.

“At this stage it is very difficult to put an exact figure on this, but it is a multimillion-rand operation.”

Naidoo said the house, which had been rented for about 18 months, appeared to be used solely for drug production. There was also an outside room which was used for packaging and storage.

“All the rooms inside the house had a purpose in the manufacturing of the drugs. One room was used for cooking, the other for sorting and the last one for processing.

“The drugs were put inside five-litre buckets. We also found fans which were used to dry the products after they were cooked.”

The walls of the room where the chemicals were being cooked were black, suggesting that the suspect had been manufacturing the substances for a while. The door handles had been eroded by the chemicals used to make the drug.

Naidoo said police were on the hunt for the suspect and his accomplices as they did not believe he was working alone. “We expect to make arrests very soon and once we do, all the dominoes are going to fall.”

Neighbours were shocked when they saw police at the house.

One said they never suspected anything illegal happening in the house as the man was hardly ever home. Almost a week would pass without seeing anybody at the house and when they did see the man, he would be carrying a Bible.

“We never suspected anything because we thought he was a church person, he always carried his Bible wherever he went.

“We also did not notice anything suspicious because we only saw two people coming in and out of the premises,” the neighbour said.

Pretoria News