How Hawks are unraveling SA's biggest ever heroin bust

2017-10-18 13:40
Drugs recovered during the raid (Supplied by the Hawks, file)

Drugs recovered during the raid (Supplied by the Hawks, file)

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Cape Town - An alleged drug smuggling kingpin from Belgium, who is suspected of getting hold of R300 million worth of heroin which was discovered on a Villiersdorp farm earlier this year, is in custody following his arrest at Cape Town International Airport.

A second suspect, who is believed to have worked with Peter Hering and believed to have skipped the country, is yet to be traced.

Hering, 48, was arrested on Monday after he arrived from Abu Dhabi.

He was taken into custody at Cape Town International Airport - the scene of a shooting in which alleged Sexy Boys gang leader Jerome Booysen was wounded on Wednesday morning.

READ: Cape Town airport hit on alleged gang boss could be revenge for Stellenbosch club killing

A second person was also struck by a stray bullet in the airport shooting, which several sources have said is linked to gang violence.

Hawks officers had been awaiting Hering when he landed on Monday, October 16.

He appeared in the Caledon Magistrate's Court on Wednesday and is expected back in the dock on October 27.

On June 21, police announced that R500m worth of cocaine was found on a farm in the Overberg town of Villiersdorp, which is about 100km east of Cape Town.

READ ALSO: Inside SA's 'biggest' drug bust - 5 things that have emerged so far

However, it later emerged the drug discovered was heroin - 963kg of it - worth nearly R300m.

Western Cape Hawks spokesperson Captain Lloyd Ramovha said Hering, as well as another person, Peter Ross, were persons of interest in the case.

Suspect still at large after 'fleeing SA'

It was believed they fled the country following the discovery of the heroin.

Hering then returned this week.

When News24 had contacted him in June, he had responded via message saying: "My lawyer will contact you this week."

This did not happen.

Another suspect in the matter was still wanted.

"Peter Ross is still at large and a warrant for his arrest remains in place," Ramovha said.

Ramovha said a 24-year-old, Ortega Rodriquez Mark, from Holland, was arrested during the June 21 raid on the Villiersdorp farm.

Mark had been released from custody on R1million bail and was expected back in the Caledon Magistrate's Court in November.

Lode Lemahieu, of Belgium, owns the Eerste Hoop wine estate where the drugs were discovered.

News24 had tried to contact him following the raid there, but he did not respond.

'Coincidence'

In June the Belgian publication, Het Nieuwsblad, quoted him as saying his farm had become central to the matter purely by coincidence.

Wine was returned to the farm and that was when workers discovered the drugs in boxes which were not as heavy as others.

"When they opened the boxes, they only saw white-grey powder," Lehamieu told the publication.

"It's a pity that our good name will be smeared in this way... We do not have anything to do with it ourselves."

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Read more on:    cape town  |  narcotics  |  crime

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