Police make massive R500m cocaine bust in Overberg town

2017-06-22 08:03
Some of the cocaine seized during the operation. (Supplied, SAPS)

Some of the cocaine seized during the operation. (Supplied, SAPS)

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Cape Town - Police have discovered R500m worth of cocaine on a farm in Villiersdorp, apparently destined for overseas markets, and have arrested three suspects.

"In what is believed to be one of the biggest drug hauls in the country, police in Villiersdorp in the Overberg seized 253 boxes of cocaine," spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said on Wednesday evening.

Crime scene and forensic experts were still on the scene late on Wednesday night.

Van Wyk said it was believed that the drugs were destined for the export market.

He said the three arrested suspects - aged 23, 27 and 42 - were expected to appear in court soon.

Businessman denies links

Late on Wednesday evening, three sources said the cocaine haul was discovered on a farm belonging to controversial businessman Mark Lifman.

However, Lifman told News24: "If it floats, flies, farms or, I'm sure you can work out what the fourth one is, rent it. And I don't own or rent any farms, so I'm happy to say, that has nothing to do with me."

"And I've told you before, when it comes to drugs, nothing to do with me."

Lifman said he was sure the arrested suspects would be able to give officers information about who the drugs belonged to.

The cocaine discovery follows two recent high-profile drug busts.

'Underworld' cocaine arrest and heroin bust

Jacques Cronje, who was previously involved in illegally operating a bouncer company, and who has had run-ins with the law before, was arrested on Sunday after about 22 packets of cocaine were found in a vehicle he was driving in the city centre

Cronje appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Monday.

He is set to argue that he was the target of a set-up.

Sources with ties to police and the underworld have told News24 that rival underworld figures had set Cronje up.

Last week, an informant - who goes by the name Mr Wick - told News24 he had tipped police off about a major heroin smuggling operation, allegedly run by members of the older faction.

Last Monday, on June 12, R104m worth of heroin was discovered concealed under a vehicle at the Kosi Bay port of entry.

Three suspects were arrested.

Mr Wick alleged that the heroin was linked to a suspected underworld figure.

Bouncer industry battle

The drugs busts come as an underworld battle related to the club security industry is becoming even more volatile in the Western Cape.

A newer underworld faction, said to be headed by businessman Nafiz Modack, has been taking over security at nightclubs from an older underworld faction.

Several shootings have been linked to the tussle for power, and at least three people have been shot in Cape Town establishments since April.

The club security matter is understood to be linked to the drug trade, in that some establishments are viewed as crucial turf from which to peddle drugs.

A source with links to the new faction has insisted to News24 that they are trying to rid the city centre of drugs.

Read more on:    cape town  |  narcotics  |  crime

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