Pubdate: Fri, 03 Aug 2012
Source: New Age, The (South Africa)
Copyright: 2012 TNA Media (Pty.)
Author: De Wet Potgieter


With an estimated 300 000 people using more than half a gram of tik a 
day, more than 150kg of this designer drug is needed to supply the 
demand for it in the greater Cape Town area per day.

Selling at street level for more than R30 a "straw" (less than half a 
gram) explains the cut throat gang wars being fought for this very 
lucrative drug market.

Crystal Methamphetamine-popularly known as "tik" is chemically 
related to amphetamine and is known for the violence it triggers 
among its users.

When tik hit the streets in late 2003 very little was known about 
this dangerous drug. Until then mandrax was the main drug peddled to 
drug abusers on the Cape Flats, but tik quickly took over as the drug 
of choice for junkies on the streets.

In the latest development the illegal drug trade has taken a new turn 
for the worse in the Western Cape with the main production of tik for 
the local market starting to move from the north of South Africa to 
the southern coastal region. Until six months ago the Western Cape's 
climate was regarded as too damp for "cooking houses" to produce tik 
locally, but it was then discovered that the ovens used for the 
illegal drying of abalone for the Chinese contraband market worked 
perfectly for the production of tik.

While the main basis for the production of tik, CAT and ephedrine, is 
smuggled in from Asian countries like China, Pakistan and India, most 
of it comes from the Chinese Triads who barter it from the South 
African syndicates stripping the country's marine resources of its 
abalone, commonly known as perlemoen, to pay for this much sought 
after resource.

A source close to the syndicates said the police have made fewer 
major breakthroughs in their efforts to clamp down on abalone 
smugglers because divers stripping the Cape shoreline at night now 
swim out to sea where their loot is loaded onto high speed inflatable 
craft and ferried into international waters where awaiting Chinese 
trawlers swop it for ephedrine.

For the smugglers the exchange of abalone for at least 100kg of 
ephedrine at a time means it can be sold to the South African drug 
manufacturers for about R30 000/ kg, pocketing a whopping R3m for one 
night's work at sea.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom