New hiding place for dealers

2015-06-02 06:00

DRUG manufacturers are moving into the suburbs in the hopes of avoiding detection.

The trend has become particularly noticeable in parts of Durban, which in the last 18 months has experienced at least seven high-value drug raids in upmarket suburbs from the millionaires’ playground of Umhlanga to the sought-after large properties in Hillcrest and Kloof.

And according to police sources who cannot be named, the houses were all legally let out through a letting agent, with the tenant then claiming they sub-let the home “unknowingly” to the drug dealers.

But the SAPS said despite the dealers moving into the leafy suburbs, the end user for their products were still predominately poor neighbourhoods with the gated homes merely used for the purpose of keeping secluded.

The 2013/14 South African Health Review revealed that while alcohol was still the most widely abused addictive substance in the province, it was followed by cannabis, heroin, cocaine and Mandrax, with KZN’s usage only second to Gauteng.

SAPS spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said drug dealers are moving their operations away from the areas in which they operate due to increased breakthroughs by police.

“Police have dismantled many drug-processing operations. Drug peddlers have moved their operations to secluded suburbs in the hopes of avoiding detection,” said Naicker.

Naicker said “the peddlers” use multiple routes to bring their drugs into the province where it is later processed. Where there is a demand, drug dealers will move in.”

He said communities need to “take ownership” and make their “neighbourhoods drug-free zones” by setting up neighbourhood watches.

Rawsons Property Group, one of the largest estate agency franchise groups in the country, said in the high-end market agents needed to go beyond simple credit checks.

“We always call the references. Without this it is very unlikely we will take them as a tenant, while young people will need security surety from the likes of their family,” said Rawsons’s branding and PR manager Samantha Claase.

The Estate Agency Affairs Board said they do not dictate to agents how to run their business but simply require them to be registered while offering support to the public

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