Buttons bust: Cops seize 270 000 mandrax tablets on N1 highway

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The consignment of mandrax (Supplied by SAPS)
The consignment of mandrax (Supplied by SAPS)
Supplied by SAPS
  • Almost a quarter of a million mandrax tablets were seized on the N1 by police.
  • The consignment is believed to have been on the move for a syndicate that operates between Gauteng and Cape Town.
  • One person was arrested after the courier was stopped and the vehicle searched in Beaufort West.


A consignment of about 270 000 tablets of mandrax bound for Cape Town from Gauteng was intercepted by police in Beaufort West on Tuesday. 

National police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said the haul was found after an intelligence driven operation and was considered large enough to "break the back" of an interprovincial drug syndicate. 

"It appears that the syndicate was involved in drug manufacturing and the bulk supply of mandrax tablets to local dealers in the Western Cape," said Naidoo. 

Known as "buttons", mandrax is often crushed and mixed with other substances, most commonly cannabis, and smoked in a pipe to produce a sedative effect. 

mandrax
Mandrax (Supplied by SAPS)

Police commissioner General Khehla John Sitole welcomed the operation and the successful bust.

It came as a result of a crime intelligence unit investigation to track down the source of the tablets.

They established that a consignment was to be collected in Gauteng and then couriered to the Western Cape on Tuesday.

The vehicle was identified, and then stopped at a weighbridge in Beaufort West.

One person has been arrested so far, and more arrests have not been ruled out.

The vehicle was being examined on Tuesday afternoon for further drugs, as well as to count and value the items seized.

This comes after a similar find earlier in February. 

In that case, a consignment of mandrax valued by police at R132 000 was intercepted on a trip from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth.

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