Tsabong — Tsabong Police station commander, Superintendent Christopher Tlhapi-David has expressed worry over the increasing number of cases of unlawful possession of illicit narcotics.
This followed the recording of three cases in the past week.
Speaking in an interview on August 10, after police nabbed four men for possession of dagga on Friday, Superintendent Tlhapi-David said the crime was becoming rampant in Tsabong.
The drugs were allegedly smuggled into Kgalagadi by criminals from areas outside Tsabong such as Gaborone and other areas in the greater Gaborone region.
Already, he said they had recorded 13 cases, as opposed to 13 cases, which were recorded the whole of last year.
Superintendent Tlhapi-David said the increase was a cause for concern, more especially that it was evident that criminals bypassed police roadblocks along the Trans Kalahari Highway.
He said there was need to close off the loopholes and establish the routes used.
He said he suspected that the increase could be attributed to suspension of liquor sale adding that perpetrators could be using drugs to intoxicate themselves.
He revealed that the law on unlawful possession of illicit narcotics was revised in 2018, and if one was found guilty, depending on the quantity found, they could be slapped with a maximum of a 10-year prison sentence or a fine not exceeding P500 000.
Superintendent Tlhapi-David said though they had not ascertain the quantity and value of dagga, they suspected its street value to be about P10 000.
He encouraged people to work together with police.
Meanwhile, four men, who were apprehended by police for dagga possession appeared before senior magistrate, Ms Gofaone Mosweu on Friday.
The accused were 37-year-old Tefelo Bogosi from Molepolole, 37-year-old Tibelo Baikakedi, also from Molepolole, 22-year-old Omaatla Bimbo from Tsabong and 27-year-old Tuelo Lorekang, also from Tsabong.
They were arrested at Mothupi ward in Tsabong, for allegedly working together to smuggle dagga using a Toyota Run-X vehicle.
Investigating officer, Detective Inspector Emmanuel Lesetedi said the accused were arrested for possession of a substance that was suspected to be dagga. He objected to their being granted bail on the grounds that the prosecution anticipated that accused one and two, who came from Molepolole, were likely to face charges of moving from greater Gaborone region to Kgalagadi District without permits.
Inspector Lesetedi said they had had an influx of drugs into Kgalagadi District from locked down greater Gaborone area, hence they needed to investigate the route that the accused used to avoid roadblocks.
Furthermore, he said they needed time to scrutinise and establish the real identities of the four, as most had failed to produce national identity cards at the time of arrest.
The police, he said also needed time to dispatch the exhibits to the forensic lab for analysis.
He further said the quantity of the substance seized was high, hence they feared that if the accused were granted bail, they could abscond from court. Thus, he begged for them to be remanded in custody until investigations were completed, adding that the police also needed to establish the source of dagga.
All the four accused persons pleaded for bail and promised to cooperate with prosecution and not abscond from justice, adding that their families did not know their whereabouts.
Accused four wanted to be granted bail claiming to not know the other three, saying he first met them when they asked for directions.
Magistrate Mosweu asked the detective why they could not hold the accused for 48 hours as provided by law, to conduct preliminary investigations. To which, he responded that COVID-19 movement restrictions were likely to hinder them as investigations were most likely to extend to Molepolole, where accused one and two came from.
Furthermore, he said they suspected that the accused may have made some deliveries in Tsabong and neighbouring areas, which needed to be investigated, hence the 48 hours would not be enough.
He said COVID-19 lockdown restrictions would also require them to source a lot of permissions to conduct investigations in the red zone area.
In the end, Magistrate Mosweu agreed that investigations were still at infancy stage, hence it was critical for the prosecution to be given time to gather evidence and set August 24 as the next court date.
Source : BOPA