Western Cape police return confiscated 'mandrax machine' to owner

2017-08-24 14:29
Mandrax tablets (File)

Mandrax tablets (File)

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Cape Town – A machine seized by police in 2014 as it was suspected of being used to produce masses of mandrax tablets has been returned to its owner – a move which some fear could undo hard work into the fight against drug dealing in the Western Cape.

But police say the return of the machine is totally above board.

Asked on Wednesday if it had been returned to a suspect and whether this was being investigated, police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana told News24: "There was nothing illegal about the handing over of the machine to its owner."

The machine was one of three confiscated in March 2014 – police seized one in Plumstead, another in Lansdowne and a third in Parow.

It is understood the machine seized in Plumstead was returned to its owner in June, while two of the machines are apparently still in the custody of police.

In March 2014, police spokesperson Andre Traut was quoted in the Cape Times in an article about the case.

He was quoted as saying that a suspect had been arrested in a luxury car near Mitchells Plain.

Two other machines

Traut had said it was understood the suspect, who lived at more than one address, had been operating a drug laboratory for four years.

The suspect, he had said, would programme the machine and then leave it as it manufactured tablets.

News24 understands on June 9, 2017, one of the three seized machines was removed from the police storeroom at the Lentegeur police station by a colonel and returned to a man, who one source described as a suspect in the case.

However, Rwexana, in her reply to News24, referred to the man as the "owner" of the machine.

The returned machine was linked to a case registered in Diep River.

It is understood the man is trying to have the other two machines still with police, returned as well.

However, this could not immediately be confirmed.

Rwexana did not respond to a question on whether the man was indeed trying to have the other two machines returned.

Read more on:    cape town  |  narcotics  |  crime

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