Two arrested for allegedly operating a drugs manufacturing laboratory remanded in custody

MARBLE HALL – The two accused who were arrested on Tuesday, 16 June 2020 evening, for allegedly operating a drug manufacturing laboratory at Pigeon Game Farm outside Marble Hall reappeared before the Groblersdal Magistrate’s Court on Monday, 22 June 2020.

Obele Ifeanyi (43) and Aldeo Mathe (47), Nigeria and Mozambique nationals respectively, who are facing charges including manufacturing of drugs, dealing in drugs and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, were remanded in custody until 13 July 2020 for formal bail application.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) members under the Marble Hall precinct have shut down the drug laboratory and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation’s Narcotic Enforcement Bereau (SANEB) has been entrusted with conducting further investigations on the matter.

Captain Matimba Maluleka, HAWKS spokesperson, said at that time, investigations had led to the arrest of two suspects and the seizure of four illegal firearms – two pistols and two shotguns and ammunition; drugs worth millions of rands as well as drugs manufacturing equipment and chemicals at the game farm outside Marble Hall.

Maluleka said the two suspects, Obele Ifeanyi from Nigeria and Aldeo Mathe from Mozambique, made their first appearance at the Groblersdal Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, 18 June 2020, facing charges relating to manufacturing of drugs, dealing in drugs and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

He said investigations were ongoing and further arrests could not be ruled out. The National Commissioner of SAPS, General Khehla Sitole visited the scene of the major clandestine drug laboratory at the Pigeon Game Farm on Thursday, 18 June 2020.

According to police, information that was received from community members under the Marble Hall are was put to fruition when police members attached to the Tekkie squad from Dennilton and members of the Marble Hall police station followed it up and discovered the drug lab on the said farm.

Preliminary investigations revealed that more suspects could have been on the farm and the necessitated a massive manhunt. Due to the vastness of the area and a bushy environment, some of the suspects managed to evade arrest.

Police recovered R10 million worth of drugs, two pistols and two shotguns; seven shotgun ammunition; ten 9mm rounds f ammunition; drugs manufacturing chemicals and drugs manufacturing equipment during the arrests.

Investigations pointed also to the fact that the farm was allegedly bought recently by the suspect of foreign origin who paid millions of rands in cash.

Thapelo Motseo

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