Drug-lab house raided

2013-12-31 00:00

A HOUSE in the heart of Umhlanga Rocks that was being used as a heroin and sugars drug laboratory is linked to a drug kingpin who keeps on evading justice.

Durban Metro Dog Unit and the SAPS stormed the home yesterday at 11 am, while six men and six women were busy mixing, packaging and sorting over R5 million worth of sugars (a heroin derivative in which heroin is mixed with small amounts of cocaine) and heroin. While a 10-year-old and four-year-old child played in the garden, their parents were among those arrested.

Hastily leaving their water pistols and swimming bands, the two children were taken away by social workers to the Durban Crisis Centre, where they were later picked up by their grandfather.

But the leaseholder to the house was nowhere to be found. It is believed he has been arrested at least four times previously and released.

Yesterday, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa called this “a failure of the criminal justice system that needs to be rectified”.

This haul is just one of several drug busts in recent weeks. Earlier this month, a team involving national SAPS Crime Intelligence and the Hawks raided a house at 50 Alexander Drive, Gillitts, and recovered R41 million worth of narcotics and sophisticated drug processing equipment.

Nineteen men were arrested. All of the suspects were foreign nationals, between the ages of 18 and 37.

Mthethwa was on a meet and greet in Empangeni and Richards Bay when he was rushed to the suburban drug laboratory at 56 Chartwell Drive, Umhlanga, to witness the raid. The house is less than a kilometre from the upmarket bar, club and restaurant area visited by thousands of tourists daily.

While forensic units swept the premises and took a detailed asset count, the six women and six men — 11 from South Africa and one suspect from Burundi — were taken to the Durban North holding cells.

A VW Golf 4, believed to have been stolen, was also found at the premises.

“We are on a manhunt for the man who took out the lease. He has escaped prosecution at least four times. We are happy to arrest the packers, but we are after the drug lords and we will find them. If we crack the Durban drug lords, the drug trade on the South Coast and North Coast will halt,” said Mthethwa.

Captain Greg Beavon of the Durban Metro Police said when their dog unit raided the home, the suspects were packing on the table.

“It appears as if the heroin was imported. At this point we don’t know the source.”

Homeowner Wynand van Zyl Roux, who lives in Gauteng, said he was “shocked by the news”.

“I only heard about the bust [yesterday] afternoon. I was incredibly surprised. I don’t even know who the tenant is. They have only been in the house for a month,” he said.

An estate agent leased the house on his behalf.

Haden Searles, chairman of the Umhlanga/Durban North Community Police Forum, said he believes the police will be raiding more homes running brothels and drug laboratories in the area.

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.