Four people were arrested in Brits and Hartbeespoort on Tuesday for dealing in dagga, cultivation of dagga, fraud and money laundering during a sting operation by the Hawks.
Dagga with an estimated street value of R2.154 million was found at one of the suspect’s house and shop in Brits.
Russel de Beer (50), his girlfriend Chane Steyn (27), Archibold Mogale (34) and Ulrich Fritz (25) appeared in the Brits Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
According to the National Prosecuting Authority, Mogale sold 11 bags of dagga worth R50 000 to an undercover police agent on the day of their arrest. “Before his arrest, he also sold 6 kg of dagga worth R35 000 to undercover police members on two occasions,” said NPA spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana. “It is alleged that Steyn and Frits are working for De Beer at his shop and that they also sold dagga to undercover police members.”
Hawks spokesperson Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso said De Beer, who is a major supplier of dagga around the country, was previously arrested in 2019 when his shop, called Canapax, was raided and dagga and other products worth approximately R3 million were seized. The operation led the team to various Canapax branches around the country which were shut down.
“During the search on Tuesday, of dagga worth R2 million, R54 000 in cash and a Toyota bakkie were seized. Meanwhile, a preservation order was issued for a cash amount of approximately R800 000 and a restraint order for a farm worth approximately R3 million,” she said.
De Beer, the main accused, now faces an array of charges which include, dealing in dagga, cultivation of dagga, fraud and money laundering of approximately R10 million.
De Beer, Steyn and Mogale were arrested together, while Fritz later handed himself over to the police. De Beer and Mogale were released on R100 000 bail each. Steyn and Fritz were each granted R10 000 and R5000 bail respectively.
According to Mahanjana, the 2019 case against De Beer was struck off the roll in 2020 due to Covid-related circumstances.
According to their bail conditions, the four accused have to report to their nearest police station every Friday before 19h00. Mogale was also ordered to hand his passport to the investigation officer.
The case was postponed to 9 July 2021 for further investigation.