British and Durban drug suspects appear in court

2009-09-22 00:00

DURBAN — Members of a syndicate involved in the largest drug seizure ever in Africa and Britain might soon be arrested abroad.

These suspects fled South Africa when the British police and the Hawks, South Africa’s new elite crime fighting unit, closed in on the syndicate over the past two weeks, said Devan Naicker, head of the Hawks’ drug division.

The syndicate was exposed two weeks ago at Heathrow Airport, when 165 kg of heroin was found hidden in souvenirs. Two people were arrested in Britain after a further 80 kg of heroin was found in southeast England.

The Hawks then raided a souvenir shop in Phoenix, a warehouse, a battery business and a house in an exclusive La Lucia suburb, presumably where the drugs were packaged.

The Hawks arrested six people in South Africa and seized 116 kg of heroin, six tons of hashish and 500 kg of compressed dagga with a street value of about R600 million.

Yesterday at the Verulam Magistrate’s Court, Alistair Walters, from the prosecuting authority’s Durban office, told magistrate K.G. Chetty that the police are investigating other businesses as well as the property and finances of the six accused.

Chetty ordered five of the six accused who appeared before him to remain in custody until October 12.

The accused are Gopal Ganesh (48) and Mogonathan Nadasen (52), who are connected to the souvenir shop; Perumal Naidoo (50), a suspected kingpin who handed himself over to the Hawks last Thursday; and British brothers Paul (34) and John Beazley (29).

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