Pubdate: Mon, 14 Feb 2005
Source: Pretoria News, The (South Africa)
Copyright: 2005 The Pretoria News
Author: Cindy Zeilhofer


Drugs worth more than R300 000 were confiscated during a weekend
crackdown on taverns, shebeens and nightclubs in Pretoria.

During the operation, police admitted that the drug problem affecting
the youth was "under-estimated" and could be spiralling out of control.

Director Eben McLaren, Deputy Area Commissioner for Crime Prevention,
said: "The drug problem facing Pretoria is definitely under-estimated.
But we're working at it."

He said a change could be seen in the attitude of the community who
now, more than ever, were providing police with information on
criminal activities.

Gauteng provincial spokesman Senior Superintendent Mary
Martins-Engelbrecht said the community were truly getting involved. "I
think they have realised that by helping us we can help to make their
environment safer," she said.

Martins-Engelbrecht said police appealed to parents, teachers,
religious groups and community leaders to "step up their involvement
and commitment in the fight against the evils of drugs facing our
youth today".

Raids on shebeens, nightclubs and flats in Pretoria central and
Sunnyside resulted in the arrest of 76 suspects.

Drugs confiscated included Mandrax, crack cocaine, and ecstasy

A group of men arrested at their flat in Sunnyside denied any
connection to drug dealing but were caught out when a policeman
answered one of the men's cellphones and assisted a "customer" looking
for a gram of cocaine.
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