The alleged owner of a cannabis lab in Brits, North West, will spend Christmas behind bars after his bail application was dismissed.
Russell de Beer, 48, has been accused of unlawfully selling cannabis dispensary franchises as well as being a major supplier of cannabis and related products in South Africa.
His arrest follows a clampdown on unlawful cannabis dispensaries purportedly operating legally under the guise of the Traditional Health Practitioners’ Act.
A search of his head office in Brits resulted in the seizure of 500kg of cannabis, worth an estimated R3m.
Hawks spokesperson Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso said the office where the haul was found was used to store the cannabis which was supplied to the dispensaries.
Rikhotso added that De Beer operated about 70 of these dispensaries countrywide, which trade under the name Canapax.
During the search of his premises hydroponic tunnels for cannabis cultivation, various types of apparatus for processing and oil extraction and numerous other cannabis products were also discovered and seized.
De Beer was denied bail by the Brits Magistrate’s Court on November 29 and will remain in custody until his next appearance on February 24, 2020.
Rikhotso said the Hawks are still investigating the matter, and that additional charges under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act have not been ruled out.