You know what they say:
A family that runs a multimillion-rand drug laboratory together, stays together.
Unless the police find out about it, in which case it’s off to different sections of a correctional facility.
That was the hard-learned lesson that a “friendly Christian family” from Pretoria learned recently when police raided the hub of their illegal steroid manufacturing ring.
The Citizen and the police visited “a modern home with a nice garden and family photos on the walls”.
Walking into the kitchen, a butter knife covered in margarine next to six freshly baked rolls was seen, indicating the arrest came shortly after sandwiches were prepared.
But across the butter knife was a microwave oven filled with glass vials which were used to store the steroids in liquid form.
Adjacent to the neatly decorated lounge area, where a large Bible was placed on a table, was another space used to manufacture and pour the illegal liquid substance.
The main manufacturing hub was outside the building, and housed some very expensive manufacturing machinery that could produce up to 16 steroid tablets per second. This was useful because the family had been running the manufacturing and distribution business for eight years, so there was clearly demand.
The owner of the home was a registered pharmacist who supplied the illegal steroids to a former convict serving a suspended sentence for a previous charge of illegally supplying the steroid.
The products, that avoided quality checks and taxes, somehow made their way to the South African market to be sold legally.
The Sowetan reports that those arrested on the scene include the 55-year-old pharmacist, his 52-year-old life partner, and a 38-year-old employee.
The team confiscated large amounts of finished products as well as chemicals‚ machines including a tablet presser‚ a mixer‚ a tablet-coating machine (for colouring of tablets)‚ two pistols‚ of which one is unlicensed‚ and a loaded shotgun along with several rounds of ammunition.
Police said in a statement: “The conditions under which the steroids were being manufactured was uncontrolled‚ unconducive and could potentially‚ if not already‚ be a health risk to those in the area of the operation as well as those consuming the products.”
A fourth suspect is on the lam, but police are closing in.
“It became evident from documents seized on the premises that one of the persons to whom these drugs were being supplied was arrested in 2015 and in 2017 he was convicted and sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment plus a fine of R900‚000‚ of which the 15 years was suspended for five years.”
“Police are currently searching for this individual.”
The three arrested people remain in police custody.
Just goes to show, you never really know your neighbours.
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