Medical drug peddler busted

IN a well-executed sting operation, police arrested a 38-year-old Ngwelezane woman with over R300 000 worth of Antiretroviral (ARV) medication in her possession.
Acting on information from a source, undercover cops from KZN Provincial Crime Intelligence based in Durban set up a ‘buy and bust’, where they bought drugs from the suspect, and members of the Richards Bay Detectives Branch then swooped in to arrest her, marked bills in hand.
Members of other units, including Empangeni and Richards Bay Crime Intelligence, Technical Support Durban and the KZN Provincial Local Criminal Record Centre (LCRC) all came together to play their part in the bust.
Altogether, forensics officer Sergeant Niel van der Merwe of KZN Provincial Crime Scene Investigations counted 318 bottles of ARV’s, that the suspect was selling for R1 000 per bottle.
According to officers on scene, the schedule four medication costs the state around R500 per bottle.
Some of the medication was found neatly packed in a hairdryer box inside her luggage. The others were inside a large carry bag.
It is believed the ARV’s were destined to be sold to drug dealers who use it to cut into whoonga, a popular street drug.
According to a report on the growth of the African drug trade published by Mail & Guardian Africa in March 2015, tests on confiscated batches of whoonga have not conclusively proven that ARV’s are used for whoonga production.
The drug is incredibly potent and addictive, and it is said the ARV’s have a LSD-like hallucinogenic effect when smoked.
According to Captain Debbie Ferreira, spokesperson for Richards Bay SAPS, the woman will possibly be charged with a myriad of offences under the Medicines Act.
Her charges would be confirmed and she is being held at Empangeni SAPS station as investigations into the origins of the ARV’s continues.

Kyle Cowan

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