The community, which knew the family very well, couldn’t believe it when Maximum Security patrollers found large amounts of high quality dagga being harvested behind a dilapidated home yesterday at about 2am.
The officers, who had been on the lookout for people stealing cattle from farmers, discovered the plantation when they were chasing two suspicious men who ran towards the plot, hoping to disappear in its overgrown vegetation.
When officer Johan Stumke and his colleagues arrived at the plot check on the wellbeing of the family, they discovered a large amount of dagga behind the house. Shocked by the stench, the officers informed the police, who rushed to the scene.
Upon conducting a search, the police discovered that there were two gardens designed specifically to grow dagga, a large shack for hanging and drying plants that had recently been harvested, and a rondavel for scaling and packaging the dagga.
A 20-year-old man was found sleeping in the shack, and his grandfather, aunt and a young girl were found in the house.
The police also found a toy firearm in the shack and later confiscated a shotgun that had been placed in an unlocked safe with an open door. They said the family had lost the shotgun licence many years ago, and it had been neglectfully stored in such a way that criminals could easily access it.
When the authorities from various security units arrived and asked the 20-year-old if he knew anything about cattle going missing, his reply was: “I know nothing about that. All I know about is my zol (dagga).”
The police are still calculating the value of the dagga, but said this was one of the biggest hauls in recent months. They added that they did not think the suspect had been working alone.
Police also confiscated numerous refuse bags filled with dagga. The house did not seem to have electricity and one could easily think it had been abandoned as the vegetation was knee high.
The suspect will face charges of dealing in dagga and having a dagga plantation in the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court tomorrow morning.