A massive Hawks and Crime Intelligence drug fighting operation turned the lives of suspected drug dealing “kingpins” upside down yesterday when they were arrested and about R5-million in cash confiscated, along with a huge amount of drugs.
The raid, which took about six months to plan and execute and started around 4am, was a major breakthrough for police when they targeted 16 suspected drug operating houses in and around East London.
Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, who was in East London for the operation, said there had been months of planning for it after the Hawks, working with Crime Intelligence, received information there was an influx of drug dealing in the East London area.
The first of its kind, and one that will be used as an example in other cities, saw a 58-year-old father and two of his sons arrested after simultaneous busts in their three homes.
Of the three, the main suspect is a 37-year-old who is allegedly the mastermind of the drug dealing operation. He was arrested in his mansion in Vergenoeg after being found with more than R3-million in cash hidden in a number of his vehicles.
His father was arrested in Fynbos, allegedly in possession of both a large quantity of mandrax tablets and cash.
A 40-year-old son was bust with a “runner” in Kei Bridge as he allegedly tried to escape with drugs secretly hidden in a trailer.
A shocking recovery of 52000 mandrax tablets was made by police in a property in Kei Bridge where builders were disrupted from working on house extensions in a highly secured yard. Sniffer dogs were used to assist during the operation.
Eastern Cape provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Celiwe Binta, who was at the Kei Bridge site during the raid, said the recovery of the mandrax was a huge success as it meant R3-million worth of tablets would not reach the street.
She said the value of each tablet on the street was from R60 upwards.
In a house in Buffalo Flats R38000 in cash and dagga was confiscated and a female suspect arrested when police bust the operation where heroin and dagga was sold.
When the Daily Dispatch arrived on the scene a 15-year-old boy said his father had left for Cape Town on Tuesday. He said they sold “straws” at home. The straws were reportedly used to package heroin.
The suspects are expected to appear at the East London Magistrate’s Court tomorrow.