police in hot water

ORGANISED crime unit officers and their commander have been give a 30-day ultimatum by police management in Mpumalanga to arrest suspects who stole R3,7million worth of mandrax from a locked police storeroom.

ORGANISED crime unit officers and their commander have been give a 30-day ultimatum by police management in Mpumalanga to arrest suspects who stole R3,7million worth of mandrax from a locked police storeroom.

The drugs were kept as evidence in a police storeroom and police management suspect the break-in might have been an inside job.

On June 25, Mpumalanga police made a breakthrough at the Lebombo border when they found mandrax tablets about to be smuggled into South Africa.

Mpumalanga provincial police commissioner Rex Machabi said despite the break-in, a case of drug dealing against the Mozambican suspect Issufo Pirgy would continue.

The case had been postponed to July 14.

Machabi said they had submitted all dockets that were handled by the organised crime unit (OCU) to the provincial office.

He said all OCU members, including their commander, will be "kicked out" of the service if they failed to make any arrests within 30 days.

The countdown started on Friday.

"All members of the OCU should now work together to find the culprits.

"Failure to do so means they will have no jobs in the unit," he said.

No one was at work on the night the drugs went missing.

The investigating officer was supposed to take the exhibits to the forensic section for safe-keeping.

A case of housebreaking and theft is being investigated.

In another incident, police arrested two people after they caught them with boxes and cartons containing fake cigarettes worth R260000 during a stop-and-search roadblock early yesterday morning.

Provincial police spokesperson for the organised crime unit Captain Leonard Hlathi said the "couple" was travelling in a Toyota Fortuner when they were stopped at a roadblock near the Barberton/Badplaas junction at about 6am.

"Some of the cigarettes were in boxes while some were in cartons," said Hlathi yesterday.

"We arrested the suspects there and then."

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