Pubdate: Thu, 17 Jul 2003
Source: Herald, The (South Africa)
Copyright: 2003 The Herald.


THE anti-drugs crackdown in Port Elizabeth this week, which has seen 18
people arrested during a two-day blitz, will be reassuring to many,
especially in view of the disbanding recently of the police narcotics bureau
in the region.

The action followed months of preparatory work and observation, including
the use of hidden surveillance equipment. And the terrain varied from the
townships to the central city.

It was small beer compared to the mandrax mountain of several tons that was
taken in a massive Gauteng haul a few weeks ago, but the tough action may
help bring the drug gangsters, so admired by some of the youth, down to

The fact that the crackdown failed to net any really big fish must have been
a disappointment.

It would stretch the imagination to conclude that anyone other than the rats
and mice of the supply chain came under any pressure in these raids. There
must surely be bigger operators who evaded detection.

The audacity of alleged gangster Preston Shaw -- at one time thought to have
strong drug connections and who observed some of the police activity from
the comfort of a luxury car -- raises options for speculation.

The increase in chemical abuse, especially the dangers to our youth, cannot
be over-emphasised. It must be confronted at every turn.
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