The 20 000 mandrax tablets found hidden. Picture supplied by the Hawks
The 20 000 mandrax tablets found hidden. Picture supplied by the Hawks

Busts in the thousands and millions cripple gangs and drug trade

By Genevieve Serra Time of article published Nov 24, 2021

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Cape Town - Experts say the recent influx of drugs being transported in the Western Cape in the millions indicates the out-of-control trade and have welcomed the arrests.

In just three weeks, millions of rands have been confiscated from drug runners and mules across the Western Cape as far as Beaufort West and Worcester.

Shafiek Davids, the director of Sultan Bahu Drug Treatment Centre, said the spike in drug transportation was common for this time of the year and commended the police on their fight to curb the trade.

A 25-year-old man is expected to appear in the Worcester Magistrate’s Court tomorrow after he was arrested by the Hawks and the K9 unit on Tuesday.

The team received a tip-off that 20 000 mandrax tables worth R800 000 were being transported along the R60 highway near Robertson.

The bust comes just a week after two men aged 25 and 24 were arrested in Worcester with R4.5 million worth of tik (methamphetamine).

Another alleged drug dealer, Xolani Dimba, is expected to receive judgment in his bail application today at the Beaufort West Magistrate’s Court.

Dimba was arrested on board a long-distance bus earlier this month, allegedly with more than R2.2m worth of narcotics in his luggage.

He was the first passenger to board the bus at the Durban beachfront and was stopped by officials during a roadblock at the weighbridge in Beaufort West. Sniffer dogs located the narcotics allegedly hidden in one of the pieces of luggage.

Eric Ntabazalila of the National Prosecuting Authority confirmed that Dimba’s case, which had been set down for judgment on Tuesday, was expected today.

Hawks spokesperson Warrant Officer Bonnie Nxuma said the law-enforcement team found drugs hidden in compartments during the arrest in Worcester this week.

“The team swooped in on the suspect after information of the Mercedes-Benz Vito that was allegedly transporting drugs was received. The suspect was intercepted on the R60 highway towards Robertson and a search was conducted. Suspected mandrax tablets with an estimated street value of R800 000 were found concealed in the side compartments.

“He was immediately arrested and charged. The investigation is continuing.”

Police spokesperson Colonel Andre Traut said the arrest added to the successes in curbing the drug trade ahead of the festive season.

“Efforts to address the drug trade in this province were rewarded with the arrest of a suspect who was apprehended with a significant quantity of mandrax tablets last night in Worcester. Members of the Breede River K9 unit reacted on intelligence that a white Mercedes-Benz Vito van was heading towards Cape Town with the drugs, ostensibly destined for the holiday season.”

Davids said the huge influx of drugs during the festive season was common and added to gang wars for territory.

Davids has over 20 years’ experience and sees 1 400 drug addicts a year for rehabilitation at their facilities in Mitchells Plain, Bellville and Hanover Park.

“At this time of the year one sees this influx and we are happy to see that the police have made arrests because with this trade comes the gangs which have fights for trade and territory and this helps to curb it.

“With this we have seen an increase in drugs used via injection.

“It is therefore comforting to note that the police are doing something about the situation.”

Weekend Argus

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