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Cops make massive bust

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Swazi national arrested for possession of dagga. Picture: SAPS

NEARLY 25 kilograms of dagga, along with mandrax tablets worth millions of rand, were confiscated by members of the SAPS as part of a five-day, three-province, cross-border operation, which concluded last week.

In a statement issued on the weekend, police hailed the operation, which was a collaboration between an array of police units and government departments from the Northern, Eastern and Western Cape, as a tremendous success with thousands of vehicles and people searched for non-ferrous metal, narcotics, stolen property and other items linked to criminal activities affecting these provinces.

According to Northern Cape police spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel Dimakatso Mooi, these searches resulted in arrests and the issuing of fines to different criminal offenders.

“Some were wanted suspects while others had illegal substances such as dagga and other types of drugs,” said Mooi.

“Most offenders were apprehended on the national roads, such as the N1 and N12, while those wanted were arrested at their hideouts in Springbok in the Northern Cape and Mossel Bay in the Western Cape.”

Mooi said that the highlight of the operation was the arrest of three bus occupants who were found to be in the possession of illegal substances.

“One was a 31-year-old male Swazi national who was in possession of ‘Swazi Gold’ dagga with an estimated street value of R44 000, while two females, aged 28 and 29, were arrested for possession of mandrax tablets, with an estimated street value of R2 million, in the Greater Karoo area on Thursday morning.”

“An additional charge of bribery was instituted against the male passenger after he allegedly tried to bribe one of the officers with an amount of R800. They were all on their way from Johannesburg and were heading for Cape Town.”

Through the course of the operation, in excess of 3 000 vehicles, 3 000 individuals and 285 premises were searched, resulting in a total of 134 arrests on charges ranging from contravening the Immigration Act, possession of an unlicensed firearm and drug-related offences.

Dagga weighing more than 24 221.485 grams was seized in the three provinces along with mandrax tablets, with an estimated street value of more than R2 million.

“Some of the offenders in the three provinces were only issued with fines for crimes such as the violation of the Traffic Act,” Mooi said. “More than 161 fines were issued across the three provinces during the entire operation.

“While it is the primary responsibility of the South African Police Service to combat crime in its entirety, members can never achieve this mandate without the help of other government departments and stakeholders,” she added.

“The different units within the police such as the K9, Stock Theft, Tactical Response Team, Detectives, Public Order Police, Highway Patrol, Flying Squad and other units from the three provinces, successfully worked with the other departments, which included the Department of Home Affairs and municipal traffic officials and provincial offices.

“The impact brought by this highly-intensified and intelligence-driven operation was greatly appreciated by the three provincial commissioners, who are tasked with protecting the citizens of this country in the Eastern, Northern and Western Cape. All of them applauded the zeal and enthusiasm shown by the members of the SAPS and other departments throughout the entire operation.”