Takedown operation on a major arms and dagga cultivation/lab in Wierdabrug suburb
PRETORIA – The acting Minister of Police, Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and the National Commissioner of Police, General Khehla John Sitole applauded an integrated, multi-disciplinary team today for uncovering an arms cache and dagga cultivation lab in a house in Gemsbok Street in Wierdabrug.
Members from the Pretoria and Shoshanguve K9 Units, acting on information arrived at a Wierdabrug house yesterday afternoon. On searching the premises they found the dagga cultivation inside the house and a few rifles.
These members widened their search of the premises and discovered what appeared to be hidden rooms inside the house and some rooms located at the rear of the house. These rooms contained several guns including rifles (including AK-47 rifles), handguns (pistols and revolvers), a mortar launcher, crossbows, ammunition boxes and a variety of other possibly illegal items.
The South African Police Service, Crime Intelligence, the Hawks, forensic experts and crime scene investigators were summoned to the scene. They combed the scene until late last night and have returned this morning to resume the search as well as to continue the crime scene management. Every item is being individually analysed and all items with incriminating value are being confiscated and packaged as evidence.
The owner of the house, a 50-year-old man claims to be a dealer and a collector. However, in terms of being a collector, initial investigations have revealed otherwise. Some firearms that should have been deactivated as a collector’s items, were in fact not deactivated.
Furthermore, the South African Police Service will consider having all licenses revoked in terms of the Firearm Control Act should the suspect be found guilty of any of offenses. In the meantime the suspect’s dealer’s license is being placed on suspension pending the outcome of the cases. The house and its contents on Gemsbok Street has also been taken into police custody.
All live arms will be sent for ballistic tests to establish if they were used in the commission of other crimes.
The owner of the house, has since been arrested and detained at a local police station on charges in terms of the Firearm Control Act as well as the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act.