CPF, cops combine to bust brothel

2014-01-03 00:00

THE Umhlanga community police forum has hailed this week’s raid of a suspected brothel as an example of how the police and community can work together.

On Monday, a specialised police unit swooped on a home in Maple Close, Prestondale — just minutes away from the Umhlanga Ridge business and retail precinct — arresting two women.

The arrests were, according to Umhlanga-Durban North CPF chairperson Haden Searles, the result of members of the forum coming forward with information and the police acting on it.

“We must laud the Durban North SAPS station in how they managed this information and calling in a specialised unit to execute the arrest. The police treated this case sensitively.

“The brothel would have gone unnoticed if it was not for the alert residents in the neighbourhood who reported it to the CPF. This arrest is an example on what the forum can contribute to reducing crime in our area,” said Searles.

Just hours before the arrest, a joint police task team swooped on another home on Chartwell Drive, Umhlanga, arresting 12 people and over R5 million worth of heroin and sugars (a mixture of residual cocaine and heroin cut with anything from rat poison to household detergents and baby powder).

This case was postponed to January 8, when the suspects will appear on charges of possession of heroin and possession of Mandrax. They are expected to make a formal bail application then, and remain in custody.

Specialised unit head Brigadier Derek Captain-Hastibeer said they expected to follow up on more information obtained at the brothel and further arrests are expected.

“This was a joint operation with the Durban Metro and the community police forum. After gathering sufficient intelligence we swooped on the house and confiscated cash and cellphones,” he said.

He said upon entering the home they found five women, one who was believed to be the “madam”, and two men, one allegedly married and the other separated from his wife, who were suspected clients. Two of the women were arrested for prostitution, who charged up to R600 for their services.

One of the women is 18 years old and matriculated last year.

The house had several CCTV cameras to monitor the clients’ movements, including cameras on the driveway and pointing onto the street.

Homeowner Paula de Castro, who lives in Edenglen, Johannesburg, said she had been aware of the brothel but was unable to evict the tenants, who had signed a six-month lease in July 2013. She admitted to never reporting her suspicions to the police.

“In October a neighbour told me what was going on. I first approached my lawyers to see what I could do and they advised me not to renew the lease as evicting the tenants would be difficult. The neighbour told me there was a lot of traffic to and from the house and that they saw what was going on as the curtains were sometimes not closed. I am relieved this is all over,” said De Castro.

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