After four years of police investigations, a flat tyre was all it took to nab one of KwaZulu-Natal’s most wanted alleged drug kingpins on Frday.
It also led to one of the city’s biggest drug recoveries.
The impromptu arrest occurred when two Pietermaritzburg K9 unit police officers stopped to assist a man who had a puncture on Orthmann Road in Willowton early on Friday morning.
The police officers found that the vehicle, a white Land Rover, belonged to the well-known alleged drug dealer, who was driving it at the time.
Warrant Officer Jay Marian and Sergeant Leroy Boucher, who were patrolling at around 5.30 am, searched the vehicle and recovered R1,5 million worth of cocaine in the Land Rover and R99 000 cash.
Spokesperson for the uMgungundlovu North cluster Captain Gay Ebrahim confirmed that Friday’s arrest was the biggest drug-related arrest made in Pietermaritzburg in recent years.
It is believed that the 40-year-old man is one of the biggest alleged cocaine dealers in the province.
He also faces a charge of bribery after he allegedly offered the seasoned officers R1 million each if they let him go free.
“Apparently he told the officers that they should ‘talk’ and when they asked what he meant, he told them he could ‘do one bar each’,” said a police source.
The man cannot be named until he appears in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday but it is believed he is a known cocaine dealer from the city centre.
He faces charges of possession of narcotics, dealing in cocaine and bribery.
Police sources revealed that the alleged kingpin has been on the police radar for many years but said that numerous police units had failed to arrest him.
They said the man has been known to the police for about 10 years as an alleged drug lord dealing in cocaine but they had intensified their investigation into him and his activities over the past four years.
According to sources, numerous units within the police services have tried to raid his Pietermaritzburg city centre home but had never succeeded.
“His home is like Fort Knox. It is very well barricaded with blocks and barbed wire and police often found it difficult to penetrate it. It is almost unnoticeable,” said one police officer.
When Weekend Witness visited the Mountain Rise police station on frday morning, the well-dressed man was surrounded by police officers in the courtyard.
He relaxed after his handcuffs were taken off and he was left talking to police officers while others counted the wads of cash recovered from his vehicle.
Police officers were in high spirits after the arrest and officers from other units visited the K9 unit to congratulate Marian and Boucher, who made the arrest.
Ebrahim said that they were “extremely proud” of the officers who made the arrest.
“An arrest of this magnitude will certainly have a ripple effect on the drug industry. We are extremely proud to say that one of the largest drug dealers has been taken out of business,” Ebrahim said.
She added that the cluster was proud of the officers who also turned down an alleged bribe.
“This arrest reiterates that the law does have a long arm and justice will always prevail,” she added.