GALLERY: Police bust R100m drug lab in eastern Free State

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Findings of a police raid that took place in the Freestate with links to properties in the South of Johannesburg, Gauteng.14 November 2019. Picture: Supplied

An operation by members of the SA Police Service (SAPS) Crime Intelligence, Crime Detection and the Hawks in the Free State and Gauteng, led to police uncovering a drug manufacturing facility worth millions of rands.

The day started off in dramatic fashion, when police pounced on a drug lab at Lefaso farm in Phuthaditjhaba in the eastern Free State.

Police spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo said a high-speed chase ensued when a suspect fled from the farm in his Toyota Fortuner. The suspect’s vehicle was eventually stopped at Warden and the man in his 50s was arrested.

While this was happening, another 32-year-old suspect was pursued on foot and arrested.

“The two buildings were being used for the manufacture of mandrax tablets. While one building was being used to manufacture the finished product, the other was being used for the storage of chemicals and other ingredients as well as for the preparation of the mixture for the making of the tablets,” Naidoo said.

The police also raided two houses in Kibler Park and Forest Hill, south of Johannesburg, which have been linked to the farm.

The police found drugs, chemicals and substantial amounts of cash in both houses, and discovered that all of the people linked to the farm and the houses shared the same surname.

“While it’s difficult to put a value to a drug manufacturing laboratory, with all the contents, chemicals and machinery one can estimate the operation to be no less than R100 million,” Naidoo said.

Police said the operations stem from arrests and recoveries made in Middelburg, Mpumalanga and Diepkloof in Soweto some weeks ago, where seven suspects were arrested for allegedly running a drug laboratory, with equipment and drugs worth R210 million.

Naidoo said this brings the number of suspected drug dealers arrested in the operation to 11.

Anastasi Mokgobu / The Citizen