Crime intelligence and K9 officers, including the famous sniffer dog, Boots, have taken their well-televised raids to the Central District, with 15 suspects arrested and dagga worth several kilogrammes recovered.
Police say the raids exposed Mahalapye as a “hub of dagga” in the Central District, with users becoming so daring as to openly smoke the illegal drug even in the presence of police patrols. The village, according to investigations, is supplied through smuggling over the Martin’s Drift border.
Yesterday, crime intelligence director, Nunu Lesetedi told Mmegi that in just one day, raids across Mahalapye had netted 11 suspected dagga peddlers and users. He said preliminary indications from the village are that the drug problem there required concerted raids over a period of time.
“The situation in this village had worsened to the extent that on police patrols people would easily be seen relaxed, sitting and smoking dagga freely,” he said.
“We raided homes, car washes and people on the streets and we managed to arrest a lot of them in possession of dagga or on suspicion of trading in dagga. “Looking at the arrests that we made in a day, Mahalapye could be rated the hub of dagga. There is a lot to be done in Mahalapye.
"There is a need for us to camp here for weeks or a month in order to clean up this village.” Lesetedi said the one day raids seized P17,000 from one suspected peddler, as well as other sums of suspected drug money. “We seized hundreds of pula from other peddlers, which shows that a lot of people survive on selling dagga. When we arrest them, usually they fail to account for that money which shows that the funds were accumulated from selling drugs,” Lesetedi said.
He said efforts would be made to strengthen surveillance at nearby border posts, which are believed to be used as conduits
“The idea is to put more effort on drug suppliers in order to block drugs from coming into the country. We want to block the supply of drugs into the country completely and hence pleading with members of the community to come forth to report any distributors they are aware of,” he said.
Meanwhile, crime intelligence and the K9 unit officers arrested several people and seized several kilogrammes of dagga in Palapye and Serowe. Superintendent Paul Molapise of Serowe said prior to the K9 operation, police had arrested a middle-aged man who was found in possession of between eight and 10 kilogrammes of marijuana in Serowe.
During the two-day K9 operation in Serowe, two suspects aged between 20 and 28 years were also arrested for possession of small amounts of marijuana.
In Palapye, the K9 operation netted a 52-year-old woman and 34-year-old man who were found carrying amounts of dagga ranging from 10 to 20 grammes.
Molapise said although the operations did not expose a good number of drug peddlers, intelligence gathered from visits to numerous suspected drug selling points indicates a high use of illegal drugs in the two villages.
He said the raids would have the effect of curbing the use and sale of illicit drugs.
“We are dealing with sophisticated crime and as much as we get the tip-offs, the dealers and others also get tip-offs of our operations,” he said.
“However, we are happy because our mission is to break the chain. We intend to make drug peddling difficult and to curb the use of drugs. We want people to feel the police on the ground and ultimately they will tire of this behaviour.”