A tik cook was among five people arrested after special police units raided a “clandestine” drug laboratory on a plot south of Johannesburg.
Police Minister Bheki Cele applauded the multidisciplinary team who conducted the operation for helping to bring the criminal underworld “to its knees” after they raided and dismantled a “fully-equipped clandestine methamphetamine (tik) manufacturing drug laboratory” in the Meyerton Farms area on Sunday.
“The joint investigation by the Western Cape and Gauteng Hawks‚ Crime Intelligence Counter Narcotics‚ Gauteng Public Order Police and Forensic Science Laboratory has led to the arrest of five suspects aged between 37 and 43 for allegedly dealing in drugs‚” read a Hawks press statement on Monday.
Tik has for the past 30 years ravaged communities across South Africa and especially in the Western Cape.
The highly addictive substance is also associated with many violent contact crimes and also fuels the underworld economy as a substance with significant economic value traded for other illicit goods.
But new research conducted by the Institute for Security Studies suggests that South African syndicates are now exporting the drug to countries like Kenya and Nigeria and that it is being used by terrorist organisations.
“We’ve seen the use of the drug by groups such as Boko Haram‚” said Martin Ewi ‚ the Southern African regional coordinator for Enact‚ a project run by the ISS to deal with transnational organised crime.
“It’s believed that they use the drug to somehow drug young girls and young boys who they eventually use as suicide bombers‚” he said.
“It’s a very dangerous drug and its impact is increasingly worrisome‚” said Ewi.
The drug is central to Cape Town’s gang problem and earlier this year the Sunday Times reported that the UN agency for children‚ Unicef‚ estimated that 10‚000 “child soldiers” were active in the ranks of these gangs.
The police media release said that various items used to manufacture and use the drug were confiscated and that they also “located” an “active methamphetamine cook”.
“These items included various forms of drug paraphernalia‚ chemicals used in the manufacture of methamphetamine‚ cooked and finished methamphetamine and two vehicles. The value of all the seized items will be established‚” read the media statement.
The suspects are expected to appear in the Vereeniging Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
“Drug and substance abuse remains a serious challenge affecting our communities especially the youth; we therefore commend the intelligence driven operations for yielding positive results in crippling the clandestine drug syndicates in the country. Police will continue to dedicate sufficient resources to multi-disciplinary operations in order to bring the drug criminal underworld to its knees‚” said Cele.
Hawks national head Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya has commended the team and called on South Africans to take a stance against drugs.
“Now that we have arrested this group that intends to intoxicate the nation‚ we will be focusing at the proceeds of their criminal activities. We call upon South Africans not to support the dealers by purchasing and consuming these harmful dependence producing substances‚” said Lebeya.
Aron Hyman – TimesLIVE