By Kaya 959 Reporter
Six men appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday in connection with a multi-million drug bust.
The court heard how police tracked an alleged drug syndicate and were able to piece together their investigation using special FBI cellphones.
Hawks spokesperson, Colonel Katlego Mogale said officers intercepted a man who was travelling on the N1 north, near the R21 Flying Saucer interchange in June.
Mogale said a bakkie that was towing a 12-foot ski boat was stopped after information was received.
“Upon searching the boat the team found 800kg of compressed pure cocaine with an estimated street value of R400 million,” Mogale said.
Neil Pieter van Zyl, Michael Norman, Rashied Baderoen, Rafiek Baderoen, Jaco de Kock and Lithuanian national ValdasTenikaitis appeared in court and all, except for Tenikaitis, applied for bail.
News24 reported that the investigating officer was informed that a consignment of cocaine was moved by an international syndicate to a safe house in Gauteng.
Van Zyl was nabbed when police stopped the bakkie towing the ski boat.
The investigation has revealed how police were able to intercept the suspects’ information from their encrypted cellphones.
Using specialised devices, GPS and physical surveillance, officers were able to link the men to the devices – which were created by the FBI in 2018.
The court heard communication allegedly between van Zyl and Norman, believed to be the manager of the syndicate, speaking about cars parked outside one of the safe houses.
According to the IO, the men were discussing the presence of certain vehicles. They were concerned that the vehicles belonged to either robbers who were out to steal the drugs or the police.
The conversation allegedly showed that van Zyl was being monitored by Norman and Rashied who was reportedly trying to transport the drugs to a safe house in Pretoria East from the safe house in Kyalami.
The men have been charged with drug dealing and conspiracy to deal in drugs. The bail application continues.
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