A joint operation between the Directorate Of Priority Crimes Investigation (HAWKS) Vaal Rand and Western Cape units and Crime Intelligence, has resulted in the seizure of more than R25 million worth of Mandrax powder and tablets and five suspects were arrested in the process.
On 10 February 2015, members of the DPCI and crime intelligence uncovered a major drug lab in Zuurbekom, just outside Johannesburg at approximately 16:00. The joint team acted on the information gathered by Crime Intelligence about a Mandrax manufacturing lab at a plot in Zuurbekom.
The operation began two weeks ago when DPCI members received information of a clandestine laboratory that was manufacturing and transporting Mandrax tablets to clients in the Western Cape. As a result, members raided the premises and found the plot to be one of Gauteng’s largest t drug hub.
The Hawks seized chemicals, equipment, a delivery van which had panels to conceal the drugs, large quantity of packed Mandrax tablets as well Mandrax powder yet to be pressed for shipment.
Five people aged between 27 and 78 have been taken into custody. They are likely to face charges of possession and dealing in drugs when they appear at Westonaria Magistrate Court on Thursday. The detection of this lab is the fourth in as many days after the Gauteng discovered a dagga hydroponic laboratory while the Mpumalanga and Northern Cape teams uncovered two major CAT distribution centres in Secunda and Kuruman respectively, collectively worth more than R9 million
Acting DPCI Head Major General Mthandazo Ntlemeza said this operation is an excellent example of South African law enforcement agencies cooperating effectively to target illicit drug manufacturing as well as importations.
“The DPCI and its partner agencies will continue to target and investigate all organized criminal activities that seek to profit from spreading dangerous drugs into the community. The results of this operation and other recent seizures highlight the threat posed to our country by organized crime syndicates. We are committed and more united than ever and we will continue to work collaboratively and aggressively pursue anyone who takes part in illegal activity”. Ntlemeza said
Added Ntlemeza: “This seizure is also testimony to the dedication and persistence of our officers. The job is not finished, we will continue to apply pressure on criminals who manufacture and import illicit drugs and capitalize on this significant blow to their industry”.