Drug-busting PMB cops lauded by UK

2008-07-10 00:00

Four members of the Organised Crime Unit in Pietermaritzburg have received recognition from the UK Metropolitan Police Service and UK government for their contribution to cracking a major drug trafficking syndicate that operated between England and South Africa.

They are KZN Midlands head of the Organised Crime Unit, Senior Superintendent Hennie Laatz, Superintendent Johan Meeding, Inspector Rocco Vermeulen and Inspector Quinton van der Hoogen.

As a result of their investigations two Britons caught trafficking in cocaine from a warehouse in Tongaat, John Tutton and Tommy McKinnon, were sentenced to effective 30-year jail sentences each by Camperdown regional magistrate Fred Heuer on December 20, 2007. This is the heaviest sentence ever handed down in a SA court for this type of offence.

Their UK accomplice, and alleged mastermind of the syndicate, Robert Flook, was later sentenced in the UK to 26 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy to supply 150 kg of cocaine and to 13 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy to supply cannabis — the sentences were ordered to run concurrently.

Heuer sentenced Tutton and McKinnon to 20 years’ imprisonment on each of two counts — one of dealing in 8,1 tons of dagga seized in a shipment of furniture at Felixstowe in the UK on September 10, 2006 and the other of dealing in 150 kg of cocaine concealed in a shipment of mirrors at a warehouse under the control of the accused at Tongaat on October 4. The cocaine was destined for export to the UK.

Tutton and McKinnon’s former co-accused, Ernest Smith (59), was acquitted.

The Pietermaritzburg officers were awarded commendations for “outstanding co-operation on joint investigations” by UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband at a function at the presidential guesthouse in Pretoria earlier this week.

According to a press statement issued by the SAPS, the SAPS — particularly the detective service and crime intelligence division — enjoy an excellent working relationship with UK law enforcement and prosecution authorities.

“The continuous exchange of information and intelligence and joint operations have led to numerous operational successes in respect of the combating of crimes such as trafficking in persons and drugs,” the SAPS said.


Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.