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Beer, drugs, cellphones found in prison raid

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More than 400 litres of sorghum beer were among the many illegal items recovered during a raid at Westville Prison earlier this week.

Durban – More than 400 litres of sorghum beer were among the many illegal items recovered during a raid at Westville Prison earlier this week.

The items were recovered during a security operation dubbed Operation Vala.

Westville Medium B was targeted on December 31 by correctional officers, assisted by other law enforcement agencies including the metro police department. The search started at 3.40am and ended at 8am.

Among other illegal items found was approximately R1600 cash, 425 litres of sorghum beer, 75 mandrax pills, ecstasy pills, 388 dagga cigarettes and 51 cellphones with a lot of SIM cards, Correctional Services said.

KwaZulu-Natal Regional Commissioner Mnikelwa Nxele said that all those who were found to be in possession of the contraband would be charged accordingly. Correctional Services spokesperson Thulani Mdluli said the purpose of the operation was to evoke security consciousness in officials, and the prevention of serious security-related incidents during the festive season.

“The December/January holiday period is, generally, a period during which inmates are desperate to escape for various reasons, which include, among others, participating in criminal activities or simply to be with family or friends.

“It is for this reason that special emphasis is placed on security measures in correctional centres, with increased visibility and involvement of managers at all levels in the operational activities.”

Mdluli said past unannounced searches had yielded many illegal, dangerous weapons that were confiscated from inmates.

The Mercury