PMB ‘on major hashish route’

2008-07-22 00:00

Hashish was allegedly distributed to Pietermaritzburg, Europe and elsewhere from a R650 000 Gauteng property against which the National Prosecuting Authority obtained a forfeiture order yesterday.

The owner of the property, Dimitrio Paparas — who did not oppose the application — was charged with Glen Agliotti and Clinton Nassif of dealing in 2 064 kg of hashish resulting from an investigation by the Directorate of Special Operations (Scorpions), according to NPA spokesman Tlali Tlali.

Paparas goes on trial in Alberton from October 14 to 16 and October 28 to 30. The property will be sold and the proceeds paid to the Criminal Asset Recovery Account.

Tlali yesterday told The Witness he was unable to provide detailed information about the alleged “Pietermaritzburg link” to the drug operation in question as a criminal trial is pending.

“These details will be adduced during the trial,” he said.

Tlali said the NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) obtained a forfeiture order from court in respect of the smallholding just outside Springs, as well as two sealing machines, and five gas stoves belonging to Paparas.

Tlali said in a press statement the AFU contends that the smallholding was used for “a variety of purposes associated with the manufacturing of and dealing in drugs”, including as a storage facility for hashish.

“During a search of the property by the Scorpions, it was evident that the house was not used as a dwelling. It was not furnished and there were no foodstuffs, linen, appliances or bedding normally associated with a dwelling. The inside walls of the house and the floors were not plastered and the ceilings were not finished,” he said.

He said the AFU submitted that the property was “used as a distribution point from where hashish was distributed to Europe, Pietermaritzburg and elsewhere”.

“Sealer machines and gas stoves were found inside the house on the property and are indicative of the repacking process of the drugs that took place on the property. The garage, which is connected to the main house, also contained sealing equipment and machinery as well as vacuum machines. The property is surrounded by high grass, trees, palisades, walls and barbed wire, and has a concealed area … in the middle of the dwelling, with a large door.”

The concealed area is big enough for a truck to park, while the door is larger than a normal garage door.

The concealed area and its modified door allowed for easy access to the storage offered by the house. It also shielded the operation from view, said Tlali.

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