Seven people are expected to appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Monday after a tip-off led police to a R50m drug bust.
In a statement issued on Saturday, national police spokesman Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said a multi-disciplinary task team, acting on intelligence, uncovered a massive drug laboratory in Springfield Park, just outside the Durban Central Business District.
He said members from the Provincial Organised Crime Unit (POCU) and the eThekwini Inner South Cluster’s Provincial Drug and Firearm Unit swooped on the laboratory late on Friday afternoon, where they arrested two men and two women.
“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.
“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 R50m.”
He said the initial arrests led police to a house in Shepstone Place in Westville.
At these premises the team recovered approximately 20kg of methaqualone powder and arrested three more suspects.
The seven suspects will be charged with the manufacture of and dealing in heroin and Mandrax, as well as in terms of the Medicines and Related Substances Control Act.