Drug Bust in Johannesburg
A man has been arrested for drug dealing after police raided a house in Booysens on Monday. The Hawks seized R48 million worth of heroin.
They also found bottles of chemicals and drug-manufacturing equipment. A total of five suspects were arrested and will appear in court soon. The drugs will be destroyed later today.
The South African drug problem is a consequence of a combination of factors including socio-economic status, social and economic conditions, societal norms, and lifestyles. This has created a situation in which some groups, especially whites and Coloureds (but also to some extent blacks), occupy privileged positions that give them access to western lifestyles, housing and employment opportunities.
These people are more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviours like drug use, and to take greater risks with their drug consumption. This has serious consequences for society at large, leading to crime and violence, escalating rates of chronic disease such as AIDS and TB, and increasing poverty.
The head of the Hawks, Lt-Gen Godfrey Lebeya, said that tackling drugs and gangsterism are among the top priority crimes for his agency. He also warned that there are “highly dangerous” drug users in the country.
Who are the suspects?
The suspects allegedly conspired to import a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug, namely cocaine, and possessed such drugs in their possession. The alleged offences are punishable by up to life imprisonment.
The men allegedly used their employment as baggage handlers at the airport to smuggle drugs into the country. AFP Detective Superintendent Kristie Cressy said that transnational organised crime groups “target people working at airports as they have access to airside operations”.
Police searched the home and found two closets filled with drugs, including a gym bag containing counterfeit pills that were blue in colour and stamped “M-30,” mimicking oxycodone. They were actually fentanyl, which is up to 100 times more potent than oxycodone.
A firearm was also recovered. The occupants of the house were arrested, and one was charged with possession of the drugs. The other was accused of supplying the drugs to his associates. The occupants will appear in court on Monday.
What were the drugs found?
In South Africa, drug possession is a serious crime. If you are caught with drugs, the police will likely arrest you and hold you in custody until they can bring you before a court. The prosecution can then decide whether or not you will be charged with a crime.
The case was a result of a tip-off, and it took months to build up the evidence against him. The prosecutor said that they could prove that Haouchar was involved in the drugs trade and that he acted with others to facilitate drug smuggling.
He was a member of the Bulgarian mafia and he worked with them to bring cocaine into South Africa. He says that the smugglers would take a tonne of cocaine and add cutting agents so that it becomes 10 tonnes when it arrives on the streets of South Africa. This is how they make their money.
What is the charge?
In a statement, AFP Detective Superintendent Kristie Cressy said the suspects were charged with attempting to import cocaine. She added that the operation was a year-long investigation into an international drug syndicate using flight QF64 to bring the drugs into Australia.
The pair were arrested at the airport following a tip-off from an airline. They were allegedly found with 552 bricks of cocaine in their car. The men will face a number of charges including dealing in drugs and defeating the ends of justice.
The Hawks head Lt-Gen Godfrey Lebeya says tackling drug and gangsterism remain high on their priorities. He said this is evident through the organisation’s high-density operations. The Hawks head also cited 45 milestones in addressing a range of issues since taking over the top job at the agency. They include arresting more than 750 people and seizing drugs with a street value of over R200 million. The drugs that were destroyed include cocaine, heroin and mandrax tablets.