Minister of Police and National Commissioner of Police applauded recent massive drug busts

The Minister of Police, Mr Bheki Cele, MP and the National Commissioner of Police, General Khehla John Sitole have applauded the recent massive drug busts in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal since Friday, 01 March 2019.

In the latest success, a multi-disciplinary task team, acting on intelligence, uncovered a massive clandestine drug laboratory in Springfield Park just outside the Durban Central Business District.

Members from the Provincial Organised Crime Unit (POCU) together with the EThekwini Inner South Cluster's Provincial Drug and Firearm Unit swooped on the laboratory late yesterday afternoon where they arrested two men and two women.

The four were working on a machine producing capsules suspected to contain heroin. A search was conducted on the premises which led to the discovery of thousands of kilograms of Methaqualone powder which is generally used to produce mandrax tablets. The team further discovered one tablet press machine (suspected to be used for mandrax tablets), over 60 dyes, approximately 10 000 mandrax tablets and approximately 40 000 empty capsules, all with an estimated value of over R50 million.

The initial arrests led police members to a house in Shepstone Place in Westville. At these premises the team recovered approximately 20 kilograms of methaqualone powder and arrested three more suspects on the premises.

The seven suspects are currently in police custody and will be charged with the manufacture of and dealing in heroin and mandrax as well as in terms of the Medicine Control Act.

In Gauteng a clandestine laboratory was found at a house at Braamfisherville in Soweto. Four suspects aged between 35 and 58 years were nabbed yesterday (Friday) in an intelligence driven operation involving the Hawks' South African Narcotics Enforcement Bureau (SANEB), Crime Intelligence Counter Narcotics and the Gauteng K9 Unit.

The multi-disciplinary team searched the house and found a clandestine laboratory suspected of being used to produce mandrax. The drug lab was allegedly in operation when the team swooped, seizing a large amount of mandrax tablets, other chemicals and equipment. All four suspects were arrested on the property. The entire haul is suspected to be running into millions of rands; suspects will appear at the Roodepoort Magistrates' Court on Monday, 04 March 2019.

"The detection and take down of such clandestine drug laboratories contributes significantly to keeping drugs away from our streets and children", said General Khehla John Sitole.

Substance abuse is a serious problem in our country which continues to tear our communities apart. As the South African Police Service, we will continue to focus on tackling this problem at its source by squeezing and closing the space for the drug manufacturers and protecting the youth of our country, said Minister Cele.

All exhibits will be tested at the SAPS Forensic Science laboratory. The possibility of more arrests on this matter cannot be ruled out at this stage.

Source: South African Police Service