Cop, couple bust in drug raid

A NIGERIAN couple suspected of being key players in drug peddling and trafficking in Gauteng and North West are among 16 people, including a police sergeant, have been arrested.

A NIGERIAN couple suspected of being key players in drug peddling and trafficking in Gauteng and North West are among 16 people, including a police sergeant, have been arrested.

National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele was part of the intelligence-driven Operation Dintwa in which Pedro Chinendo Odoemenem, 34, and his wife Pamela were arrested in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Announcing the results of the intensive operation in Pretoria yesterday, Cele said investigators described Odoemenem as one of the kingpins fuelling the drug trade in Gauteng and North West.

Spearheaded by the elite police unit the Hawks and focusing on Gauteng and North West, the operation, involving metro police, the SA Revenue Service, the SAPS's asset forfeiture unit and the National Prosecuting Authority, resulted in the discovering of drugs worth about R4million and about R49000 in cash.

Moving in groups of 10, the police pounced on 23 addresses in Johannesburg, Sandton, Midrand, Soweto, Klerksdorp and Potchefstroom simultaneously on Friday .

Several items, including cars, ammunition, cellphones and pocket diamond scales, believed to be instrumental in drug-related crimes, were also seized.

Sergeant Riaan Newton, who is stationed at Hillbrow police station and is suspected of facilitating drug trafficking, was also arrested. Another police officer sought for drug-related crimes is on the run.

Cele said since its inception two years ago the operation has netted R26million worth of drugs and resulted in the arrest of 24 drug dealers and peddlers locally and abroad.

Cele said that 85698 cops have joined the festive season's Operation Duty Calls, which is already under way.

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