The police say they have taken down two multimillion-rand drug labs in Mpumalanga and Gauteng.
“During an intelligence-driven multi-disciplinary integrated operation, our teams simultaneously swooped on premises in Diepkloof (Soweto) in the Gauteng province and Middleburg in Mpumalanga province, where they uncovered large clandestine mandrax manufacturing operations taking place,” spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said in a statement on Wednesday.
An occupant of the Diepkloof residence was arrested after it was discovered that the house was being used as a storage facility for drug manufacturing chemicals, he said.
“Sixty-two bags of a substance used to make drugs were seized. We are not clear on the value yet,” Hawks spokesperson Captain Floyd Ramovha told News24 on Wednesday.
The 61-year-old woman found on the premises was arrested and appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday on drug manufacturing related charges.
The matter was postponed until Friday and the woman, who has not been named, will remain in custody.
In Middelburg, seven suspects were arrested for the alleged running of a clandestine drug laboratory, with equipment and drugs worth R210 million.
All seven suspects will appear in the Ermelo Magistrate’s Court on Thursday on drug manufacturing related charges.
Police commissioner General Khehla Sitole praised the work of his officers.
“This is a major breakthrough in our efforts to combat drug abuse in our country and every time we uncover such laboratories, we nip the problem of drug manufacturing and distribution in the bud.
“I have conveyed my praise and appreciation to the members of Crime Intelligence and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation for this sterling work,” he said.
The police called on members of the public to come forward with any information on crimes “preferably before they are committed”.