Brothers held in drug bust 'still a danger to witnesses'
Kevin and Calvin Periasamy appeared in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
Calvin claimed his tow truck business was suffering while he’s in jail and both said they were assaulted during a search at Westville Prison.
Kevin said his property was entered without a search warrant on the day of their arrest.
The brothers along with Kevin’s wife Desiree, who is currently out on bail, Jason Alexander, Shaun Mawesa, Justin Williams and Vuyani Nyawose were arrested during a joint operation between various police specialised units including the Hawks in January.
Police said they recovered R97156 in cash, two pistols, a shotgun, 64 live rounds of ammunition, 1836 heroin caps, 138 heroin straws, 80 large crack cocaine pieces, 30 mandrax tablets, three bags cocaine, two ecstasy pills and 186grams of dagga during the raid.
The accused face more than 30 charges, including drug dealing, crimen injuria, robbery, intimidation, kidnapping and assault.
The court on Friday heard that police witnesses were still in danger.
“No ‘hit’ was executed as every precaution was taken by SAPS to safeguard the said members. It is submitted that (a) threat persists and the members are still at risk, the investigating officer, Detective Captain Adele Roos of the Provincial Organised Crime Investigation Unit, said in an affidavit.
She added that the search of Kevin’s premises without a warrant did not render the search “patently unlawful”.
“This is a completely misleading statement and applicant one could have dealt with his defence in the initial bail application when he testified. The fact that he refused or failed to do so, and does so now, does not make this a new fact to consider,” Roos said.
Addressing the allegation of being assaulted, Roos said that on July 19, following information received from prison officials that the brothers had planned to escape, a member of her investigating team and several other police units were requested to assist in a search operation at the prison.
“I have obtained a statement of Constable Adam who confirms that no person was assaulted during the search operation. Indeed a search was conducted in the cells of applicants one and two.
Roos said a prison official had confirmed that both applicants have been found with cellphones on numerous occasions “and hence pose a security risk”. A cellphone in a TV set was found in applicant two’s (Calvin’s) cell,” she said.
Roos added that the decision to move all six accused to Kokstad Prison was taken on recommendation by the area commissioner for prisons and approved by the regional commissioner.
“SAPS do not have any influence on where an inmate is held.”
Roos disputed the claim made by Calvin that his business was suffering since his arrest.
She said that while he had raised the issue of the prejudice in the initial bail application, he had subsequently acquired three new tow trucks in March.
“One always expects that financial prejudice would result from one’s incarceration and this was again ventilated in the initial bail application,” she said.
“Furthermore, from my investigations, I can confirm that applicant two’s tow truck business continued in his absence and was run by his employees.
“I have an eNatis report confirming that three new tow trucks were licensed on March 10, 13 and 27, respectively. There is no evidence that the tow trucks are not in operation.”
The matter was adjourned.