South Africa 23.7.2015 04:05 pm

Drug lab found inside old East Rand church

Police reservist Herkie Stephens inside the multi-million rand drug manufacturing laboratory that was discovered at a former church after a fire. Pic: Heidelberg Nigel Heraut

Police reservist Herkie Stephens inside the multi-million rand drug manufacturing laboratory that was discovered at a former church after a fire. Pic: Heidelberg Nigel Heraut

Three suspects have been arrested after police discovered a drug lab inside an abandoned church in Nigel, on Gauteng’s East Rand.

Police stumbled across the laboratory after a fire erupted at the old Grace Church on Tuesday. After the fire was extinguished, a strong chemical odour prompted further investigation into the premises, where several drums, bags and buckets full of chemicals and acids were found, Heidelberg Nigel Heraut reported.

Three suspects, who were in the building when police arrived and assisted in extinguishing the fire, were arrested on the scene and charged with the manufacture and dealing of drugs.

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Katlego Mogale said the estimated value of the drugs was about R30m. She added the fire was presumably caused by an electrical fault, which spread to containers filled with chemicals outside the building.

Elsewhere in the old church, hundreds of bags containing the processed product were also found stored and ready to be distributed.

“The police are in process of ascertaining whether this lab forms part of a bigger syndicate. The owner of the premises is also under investigation,” Mogale said.

This after a suspected dagga dealer was detained at Mtubatuba Police Station, in KwaZulu-Natal, after police stumbled upon a large dagga production factory at a house in St Lucia on Monday.

Provincial police spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane said after a tip-off in connection with a recent house robbery in St Lucia, the officers found dagga plants of all sizes, dried plants hanging like washing and leaves and seeds packaged in plastic.

The estimated street value of the dagga is R100 000.

– Caxton News Service

 

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