Pubdate: Thu, 19 May 2005
Source: Cape Argus (South Africa)
Copyright: 2005 Cape Argus.
Author: Ashley Smith & Zenzile Khoisan
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Home Attacks Linked to Druglord Feud

The battle against the highly addictive drug tik has intensified, with
police searching 3,000 premises and houses on the Cape Flats and
opening 560 drug cases - all within six days.

The blitz is also aimed at solving a string of attacks on houses that
have been linked to drug dealers, according to community safety MEC
Leonard Ramatlakane.

The searches, which began last Friday night, were mainly in
gang-infested Manenberg.

Intelligence sources and gang members have confirmed that attacks on
drug dealers - including pipe-bomb attacks and execution-style
killings - are linked to the tik war.

The battle over the supply of the drug involves Western Cape gangsters
being played against each other by Nigerian drug syndicates and the
Chinese Triads (mafia).

The Nigerians, who had specialised in crack cocaine, cocaine and
designer drugs like Ecstasy, were now vying for control of the tik
market, several sources said yesterday.

In retaliation, the Triads, based primarily in Johannesburg, and who
had in the past supplied Mandrax and tik exclusively to local
gangsters, were hitting back.

Two weeks ago alleged tik dealer Mogamat Zain Smith, better known as
Love Bite, was shot dead at his Athlone home by three gunmen.

Last week a pipe bomb was thrown into the Jupiter Street, Surrey
Estate house of the late Mervyn Abrahams, who had been linked in the
past to the drug trade.

Authorities have also cracked down on tik factories, including a big
bust six weeks ago in Milnerton of a "factory" linked to the Triads.
At the weekend, a tik factory in Strand was raided by police.

Ramatlakane said: "We have declared our intent up front. We are not
going to relax. We are going to accelerate (our campaign against
organised crime and drug dealers)."

"More and more, the police are making inroads and working smarter. We
will continue to break cells and units (manufacturing and supplying
tik and other drugs)."

Ramatlakane said since January, 178 332kg of dagga and 23 000 Mandrax
tablets had been seized.

"These operations underline that we are serious about the plight of
our people - the weak and vulnerable. We continue to make the call
that we cannot win the battle without the help of the mothers,
fathers, families and community and religious organisations on the
Cape Flats," Ramatlakane said.

The series of articles published in the Cape Argus dealing with the
criminal economy - headlined "Gangland (Pty) Ltd" - had been a "huge
revelation" in trying to understand the "challenges facing our
society", he said.

"I have had lots of conversations with ordinary men and women,
parents, families and churches who want to do something. They have
indicated that this is a battle that we have to take up together."

Ramatlakane described as "terrible and shocking" yesterday's horror
killings in Beacon Valley, where three children and a woman died when
intruders apparently threw an explosive device into their home, and
the shooting massacre in Milnerton. In the Milnerton tragedy, a nurse,
her alleged lover and her three children were gunned down. - Staff
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