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2023/08/03      |  Written By:  Brigadier S Mohlala   |   Province:  Mpumalanga

Nelspruit: 02 August 2023 - An Intelligence driven operation has led to the arrest of 16 Mozambican and Zimbabwean foreign nationals for illegally operating a drug laboratory as well as a refinery at Klipspruit (Waaikraal) farm in Delmas yesterday, Tuesday 01 August 2023 at about 06h00 am. The suspects aged between 15 and 43 years were arrested by the team comprised of National Crime Intelligence, Ekurhuleni East Crime Intelligence, Middleburg K9 Unit, Middleburg DPCI, Delmas SAPS and members of the Neighborhood Watch.

The team investigated five buildings in the farm where in the first four buildings, Gold Bearing materials, 16 Pendukas and a Crusher were recovered. In the fifth building, which was allegedly used as a Drug Laboratory, the team recovered Generators, a pill presser, press bits and chemicals with scales. A TLB which was reportedly stolen in Protea, Gauteng Province was also recovered in the area. Three other vehicles believed to have been used during the illicit activities, a Toyota Dyna truck, Hyundai H100 bakkie and a double cab Foton pickup truck were also seized for further investigation.

The arrested suspects are expected to appear in the Delmas District's Court tomorrow, Thursday 03 August 2023 for Contravention of Drug and Drugs Trafficking Act, illegal mining, possession of Gold Bearing Materials as well as for possession of suspected stolen property. Police are working collaboratively with the Department of Home Affairs to ascertain the status of the suspects in the country. At this stage, Police cannot rule out possibilities of adding another charge of human trafficking, forced labour as well as child labour, taking into consideration of the minors that were are also found amongst the arrested suspects.

The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has welcomed the arrest and commended the spirit of team work displayed by various police disciplines. "Foreign nationals are warmly welcomed in the country however criminality can never be accepted. People that are within the country, regardless of where they come from, should obey the law and should distance themselves from criminal activities," warned the General.

A pill presser were confiscated