A total of 16 suspects were arrested during the take-down of a syndicate of drug traffickers yesterday in a series of raids in the Southern Cape and Gqueberha. Police believe the main target has been operating in the Oudtshoorn area for decades.
Three suspects in George, seven in Oudtshoorn, one in Gqeberha, one in Ladismith, two in De Rust and two in Calitzdorp were arrested during the raids. The suspects are aged between 32 and 58.
According to Zinzi Hani, a spokesperson for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), search warrants were executed by a multi-disciplinary team in the Western Cape.
“This syndicate was mainly operating in the Garden Route District which is George, De Rust, Oudtshoorn, Ladismith, Pacaltsdorp and Calitzdorp,” Hani says.
“The main suppliers of these drugs are from George and Gqeberha. Since the inception of this operation from 2019 until March 2023, a total of 5 354 Mandrax tablets and 816 grams of tik to the value of R421 070 was seized from the suspects and a total of 32 cases were registered with 54 charges.”
The sixteen suspects will face charges of dealing in drugs, money laundering and pattern of racketeering activity with their first court appearance scheduled for today in the Oudtshoorn Magistrate’s Court.
“The investigation had been ongoing over a period of time, helping the team to gain insight into the criminal activities of the syndicate,” says Hani.
Crime Intelligence, the Oudtshoorn K9 Unit, District Crime Combatting Team, public order policing unit (Pops) as well as the Hawks teams based in George, Beaufort West and the Eastern Cape were involved in the raids.
The Provincial Head of the Hawks in Western Cape, Major General Mathipa Makgato, commended the team for their sterling work.
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