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09 January 2012 at 12:34 - Posted by Anonymous

Drug dealers move into suburbia


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Drug syndicates are increasingly moving their operations into Durban suburbs, especially affluent areas, in an attempt to avoid police detection.

This is according to the police after they nabbed a suspected drug dealer at a Mottramdale Road home in Westville last week.

Westville police Sergeant Stephen Clark said officers of the Durban dog unit had received information that drug dealing was taking place at the home.

Police searched the house and found ecstasy tablets, and rock and powdered cocaine hidden in a stove. A man living in the home was arrested.

Colonel Jay Naicker said there was a growing trend of drug dealers carrying out their operations from their own homes in suburbs or from houses they rented for the sole purpose of selling drugs.

“Where there is a demand, drug dealers are willing to supply. Therefore dealers are no longer just operating in townships such as Chatsworth, Phoenix or Umlazi, they are squeezing into all areas. Community policing forums need to continually educate parents and their kids about drug abuse.”

Durban North and Umhlanga community policing forum chairman Haden Searles said drug-dealing operations were difficult to detect because of their clandestine nature.

“People could be operating laboratories just like the one that was found in Briar Lane (Durban North), but they are not easy to find because they are well hidden.”

Durban North residents were shocked when Tracy Ann Pretorius and her four co-accused – Tyron Eric Hofland, Travis Bailey, Bonisile Chuthela and Zenzele Hlezi – were convicted of operating a sophisticated dagga-growing laboratory at her Briar Lane property last year.

Placing orders

Searles said drug users were now also placing orders and having drugs delivered to them.

“The current trend is for people, especially in affluent areas, who order their drugs and have them delivered – it’s like ordering a pizza. It is mostly high-end drugs like cocaine and heroin (which are being ordered). The dealers will wait outside restaurants and bars for their clients, do the transactions and leave. It is difficult to detect because it is done quickly.”

He said the police had assigned an undercover team to investigate drug-related crimes in the area. It had made a number of arrests recently.

Westville community policing forum chairman Kevin Harvey was concerned that drug-dealing syndicates were moving into suburbs, particularly upmarket areas.

“Besides the recent arrest (in Mottramdale Road), a few years ago there was a methamphetamine lab being operated from a home in Westville and people did not know about it. Police had been investigating a drug-dealing gang from Wentworth but traced them to Westville.”

Harvey was concerned that the drug dealers’ move into suburbs posed a danger to residents “as these activities tend to attract other forms of crime”.

“People need to be aware of their immediate surroundings and landlords should do thorough checks when renting out properties,” he said.

Naicker said the police needed help to arrest the ringleaders of syndicates, and not just the “runners” who sold the drugs.

On Friday the flying squad’s narcotics task team uncovered a drug-dealing operation in Sir Kurma Reddi Road, Clairwood, and two men were arrested for dealing in heroin. Naicker said officers found heroin with an estimated street value of R40 000. - The Mercury

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