Mike Mangena in jail over drugs find

Former Kaizer Chiefs striker Mike Mangena, middle, after a drug laboratory was found on his property in Randfontein, West Rand.
Former Kaizer Chiefs striker Mike Mangena, middle, after a drug laboratory was found on his property in Randfontein, West Rand.
Image: Thulani Mbele

Former Kaizer Chiefs and Wits striker Mike "Sporo" Mangena has been arrested for drug-related charges after police found a drug manufacturing laboratory at his plot in Randfontein yesterday.

Police descended on the plot in Hillside on the West Rand, which also has a livestock farm, in the early hours of the
morning and found the mandrax- manufacturing plant.

National police spokesperson Col Brenda Muridili confirmed that the plot belongs to Mangena and that he had been arrested. "Yes, I can confirm that the man has been arrested for having a drug-manufacturing facility in his property," said Muridili.

Three men found inside the plot were also arrested.

Muridili said the drug bust was as a result of a joint operation by the national crime intelligence, the Hawks and the local anti-gang unit which has been recently established.

The units had held stake outs for three weeks before making the raid yesterday.

"Our national crime intelligence, Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, together with the anti-gang unit . have been observing this place for three weeks. Today they came, and this is what they discovered. There are a lot of chemicals in there and drug processing equipment.

Police intelligence have made a drug bust at a property owned by former Kaizer Chiefs striker and TV soccer commentator Mike Mangena in Hillside, Randfontein..
Police intelligence have made a drug bust at a property owned by former Kaizer Chiefs striker and TV soccer commentator Mike Mangena in Hillside, Randfontein..
Image: THULANI MBELE

"Our forensic services say the end product is clearly mandrax. It is clearly not being cut here into pills or packaging but this is the manufacturing factory. We have arrested three people . It would be premature to estimate the value of the drugs which were being produced here but we can safely say that it runs into millions of rands," said Muridili.

"Inside the structure police found a spillage dryer tank, gas cylinders, plastic drums and a number of zinc basins full of chemicals."

When Sowetan got to the scene Mangena was not there. He later arrived, only to find various police units busy working on what they said was a secured crime scene.

He immediately got off from his Toyota Hillux and began interacting with the police.

He then drove out briefly to sort out the goats, which had simply walked off the farm.

When Mangena returned, he was put into a police vehicle which drove off with him.

It was only later yesterday that police confirmed he had been arrested as they had earlier said he was only being taken in for questioning.

The drugs manufacturing barn is situated in the farm which also has chickens, goats, cattle and ducks. Down its valley is a beautiful lake and pastures where neighbours' stock spent the day. Inside the plot was also a white tanker truck which had no registration plate at the back. Forensic officers spent some time inspecting the truck parked next to the entrance of the plot.

Mangena is part of the elite group of Chiefs players who played in the 1980s.

He also played for Moroka Swallows. After retiring, he became a soccer analyst for SABC sports programmes such as Soccer Zone and
Laduma.

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