Woman's clothes found at Durban drug den

2014-06-30 10:08
National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega at the scene of a R3bn drug bust in KwaZulu-Natal. (Matthew Middleton, The Witness)

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega at the scene of a R3bn drug bust in KwaZulu-Natal. (Matthew Middleton, The Witness)

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Jeff Wicks, The Witness

Durban - Women’s clothing has been discovered at the plush R3bn drug den near Durban, as police pursue their newest suspect.

The Witness can reveal that investigators uncovered evidence of an unidentified woman’s presence at the home, with scatterings of clothing and effects found within the ring’s living area. The mystery woman will be avidly sought by officers keen to trace every link of the international cartel’s operation.

A break in the investigation came last week when a team of detectives identified the syndicate’s kingpin and other upper echelon players, despite assurances by official police spokespeople that the investigation was in its infancy.

Mandrax

Police initially reported that the 10-ton cache of drugs seized last Tuesday was heroin, but preliminary testing on several samples indicates that it is methaqualone, the base ingredient of Mandrax.

The dramatic raid and the unfolding chaos in open court during the first appearance of three men arrested for the record seizure has dominated headlines.

Contrary to the official standpoint, sources close to the investigation revealed that a crack team of detectives and an army of forensic investigators were moving at a frenetic pace.

A source, who could not be named as he is not authorised to speak to the press, confirmed that a variety of women’s clothing was found at the home.

Custody

The three men collared when police swooped, two of whom are Chinese nationals, remain in custody.

It is understood that the men, gang underlings and master chemists, had been occupying a small outbuilding adjacent to the main house.

It was in the same outbuilding that personal effects of a mystery woman were uncovered.

The source added that officers probing the matter had pulled out all the stops, and that all of the clothing and effects would be carefully examined. “Some of the items we found included clothing and while it is unclear whether we will be able to find any tangible link in evidence we will try and test the exhibits for DNA.”

This could become lynchpin evidence when more suspects are arrested, including the Kloof drug manor’s mystery woman.

Using swathes of evidence already gathered at the scene and information from the questioning of the three gang underlings arrested in the raid, detectives compiled extensive suspect profiles.

International law enforcement agencies are expected to be instrumental in tracing the ring’s bosses, one of whom is understood to have fled the country.

Testing

The record value of the sting remains set at R3bn and may rise when detectives weigh the entire sum of raw product at a well-protected laboratory.

This week a large contingent of police are expected to shuttle the cache of drugs and equipment to forensic labs where it will be stringently tested.

The drugs are expected to be moved in a heavily guarded convoy of armoured vehicles and tactical police to avoid any chance of an opportunistic snatch by criminals.

Police are also looking to question the owner of the house, Junaid Rasool, 24, who bought it in April for R3.8m. The expansive property, set in a thicket of trees, appears to have been carefully chosen by the international syndicate.

The drug ring had used water sourced from a borehole and generators to provide electricity to avoid a spike in usage on the city’s grid.

Read more on:    durban  |  narcotics  |  crime
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