Eight bust in drug lab near Greenmarket Square
A SUSPECTED drug- manufacturing laboratory was uncovered in a most unlikely spot yesterday: prime premises operating as a massage parlour and overlooking tourist hot-spot Greenmarket Square.
Eight suspects were arrested during a lunchhour raid. Police swooped on the business situated on the sixth floor of the JDN House, between St George’s Mall and Greenmarket Square.
Other businesses in the building include a jewellery design and repair company and various offices.
When Weekend Argus arrived on the scene, someone at the front desk of the building said no one was allowed in as police were busy with an operation. She confirmed a massage parlour operated on the sixth floor.
At one stage another police van arrived at the building and a policeman in a forensics uniform emerged.
A few young women were later led from the building into the back of a police van.
Other police officers carried out a big black container crammed with items.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut said officers from the Lentegeur Crime Prevention Unit had been following up on information.
“They searched the premises, which led to the discovery of a white substance of about 3kg suspected to be cocaine, and equipment normally used to manufacture drugs.”
Four men and four women, aged between 18 and 36, were arrested for allegedly manufacturing drugs.
They are expected in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
Earlier yesterday, I was taking photographs outside the building and was accosted by a policeman not wearing standard uniform.
He grabbed my right arm, grabbed my phone from my hand and shouted at me.
He refused to hear my explanation that I had not photographed any of the suspects, was a reporter, and was in a public space with nothing to indicate it was a crime scene.
The officer pulled me roughly, continuously squeezing my arm and initially refusing to return my phone.
He threatened to arrest me and at one stage shouted: “And we must be scared of you?”
Another policeman was told to erase any photographs on the cellphone, but when he searched, found nothing that needed to be deleted.
The older policeman who first accosted me crumpled up and threw my business card aside when I tried to prove my identity.
None of the other several police officers present intervened.
Yesterday Traut encouraged Weekend Argus to lodge an official complaint with the Cape Town Central Police’s management so the incident could be investigated.
Weekend Argus is pursuing the matter.