South Africa: Hawks Shut Down Hydroponic Lab in North West

22 November 2019

Three suspects have been arrested after the Hawks' serious organised crime investigation unit and members of the K9 Hartbeespoortdam unit raided a hydroponic dagga lab in Assen, in the North West.

A search warrant was executed following information received regarding the cultivation of and dealing in dagga.

A fully-fledged dagga cultivation green house was discovered, where approximately 148 dagga plants were found and 24 bags containing processed dagga were found in an air conditioned room.

"Further bags of processed dagga were found in the house whilst some were stashed in the ceiling," said the Hawks in a statement.

The police arrested three suspects, aged between 28 and 49.

Preliminary investigations reveal that the main suspect is linked to other cases of dealing in dagga and was once declared an undesirable person in the country.

They will appear in the Brits Magistrate's Court on 25 November 2019 on charges of cultivating and dealing in dagga.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Head of the Hawks, Major General Kholekile Galawe, has welcomed the sentences imposed on Chike Okafor Ewile, 27, and Sunday Matthew Chike, 30, for dealing in drugs.

The accused were part of the syndicate that was arrested during a sting operation conducted simultaneously in the Northern Cape and the Western Cape on 23 March 2018.

"The operation was in accordance with the Hawks' resolve to stem the proliferation, selling and use of illegal drugs, which is steadily gaining momentum among the youth. It became evident that the threat had evolved as one of the targets relocated and operated from the Western Cape.

"This province will not allow communities to be exposed to the use of drugs and anyone who is found to be involved in this crime will be brought to justice," said Major General Galawe.

The Kuruman Magistrate's Court sentenced Ewile to 23 years imprisonment. He will serve an effective 15 years direct imprisonment.

Chike was sentenced to 20 years or an R80 000 fine. He is to serve an effective 12 years direct imprisonment.

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