Pretoria - The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI), also known as the Hawks, have arrested one of the country's most wanted drug kingpins.
Police National Commissioner Bheki Cele said through Operation Dintwa (war), an intelligence driven operation, the Hawks embarked on a stake-out in the early hours of Friday morning at 3am in the Gauteng and North West areas after a tip-off.
"Columns of policemen moving in groups of not less than ten swooped in on 23 addresses in Johannesburg, Sandton, Midrand, Soweto, Klerksdorp and Potchefstroom.
"Six hours later, police had arrested 16 suspects, had recovered drugs to the value of about R4 million, cash amounting to R49 000, three cars, 44 cellphones, 220 rounds of ammunition, six pocket diamond scale and a number of items which have been instrumental in the commission of various drug-related crimes in both provinces," Cele said on Monday.
More importantly, Cele said: "One of those suspects has been described by investigators as one of the kingpins fuelling the drug trade in Gauteng and North West provinces".
The 34-year old kingpin has been described as a Nigerian man by head of the Hawks, Deputy National Commissioner, Anwa Dramat, who said the arrest of this man was one of the main achievements of the directorate.
Dramat told reporters that the directorate has formed strong partnership with international counterparts in an effort to curb transnational crimes.
He said according to investigations, most of the international drug syndicates were from Brazil, adding that cocaine was the most common drug that was imported to South Africa.
The weekend operation was the culmination of an intelligence driven operation spearhead by the Hawks and supported by the South African Revenue Services, the Asset Forfeiture Unit, Metro Police and National Prosecuting Authority.
Other units included the Organised Crime Unit, Crime Intelligence, National Intervention Unit, the Dog Unit, Special Task Force as well as legal advisers.
In October, the Hawks made a R600 million drug bust in Durban with simultaneous arrest of six suspects from the United Kingdom.
It has also foiled the Kameeldrift cash in transit heist resulting in the death of six suspects as well as the raid of a R200 million drug factory in a house in the suburb of Midrand where equipment valued at just over R 2million was recovered.
The Hawks also made a breakthrough in a R4 million ghost building scam in the Free State which led to nine arrests.