PICS: Cops swoop on R50m Durban drug lab

Durban – Seven suspects allegedly caught operating a drug manufacturing business in Durban are expected to appear in court on Monday. 

The seven suspects are charged with the manufacture of and dealing in heroin and mandrax as well as in terms of the Medicine Control Act.

A multi-disciplinary police task team, acting on intelligence, uncovered a massive clandestine drug laboratory in Springfield Park just outside the Durban Central Business District. Two men and two women were arrested. 

Members from the Provincial Organised Crime Unit (POCU) together with the EThekwini Inner South Cluster’s Provincial Drug and Firearm Unit swooped on the laboratory on Friday. 

Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo, a SAPS national spokesperson, said the four were working on a machine producing capsules suspected to contain heroin. 

A search was conducted on the premises which led to the discovery of thousands of kilograms of methaqualone powder which is generally used to produce mandrax tablets. 

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Drug manufacturing machines found in a laboratory in Durban. Picture by SAPS media.

Naidoo said the team further discovered one tablet press machine (suspected to be used for mandrax tablets), over 60 dyes, approximately 10 000 mandrax tablets and approximately 40 000 empty capsules, all with an estimated value of over R50 million.

"The initial arrests led police members to a house in Shepstone Place in Westville. At these premises the team recovered approximately 20 kilograms of methaqualone powder and arrested three more suspects on the premises,"Naidoo said. 


In Gauteng a clandestine laboratory was found at a house at Braamfisherville in Soweto on Friday.

" Four suspects aged between 35 and 58 years were nabbed in an intelligence-driven operation involving the Hawks’ South African Narcotics Enforcement Bureau (SANEB), Crime Intelligence Counter Narcotics and the Gauteng K9 unit,"Naidoo said.

The multi-disciplinary team searched the house and found a clandestine laboratory suspected of being used to produce mandrax.

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Drug manufacturing machines found in a laboratory in Durban. Picture by SAPS media.

The drug lab was allegedly in operation when the team swooped, seizing a large quantity of mandrax tablets, other chemicals and equipment. All four suspects were arrested on the property. 

"The entire haul is suspected to be running into millions of rands. The suspects will appear at the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court on Monday,"Naidoo said. 

Daily News

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