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3 Arrested at Illegal Stellenbosch Hydroponics Grow Op as Western Cape Police Step Up Action Against Unlicensed Growers

Third major bust in less than a month

In the third major action against illegal Western Cape cannabis growers in under a month, police have arrested three people in a raid on a Stellenbosch property. A police statement said that on 10 May 2022, the Section Manager of Stellenbosch Crime Intelligence and members of his unit “received information that unknown persons were cultivating dagga at a premises in Mount Albert Road, La Colline, Stellenbosch. The members went to the mentioned house and searched it. They found and confiscated, 31 plastic bags with hydroponics dagga, 284 dagga plants, one round of ammunition, 53 LED lights, eight fans, nine and half litre of probiotics and microlife”

Police say three people were arrested, two foreign nationals aged 25 and 31 and a 33 year old South African. Charges including the illegal cultivation of dagga and the possession of ammunition without a license were being drawn up and would be put to the three of them in the Stellenbosch Magistrates Court. The value of the seized cannabis was not disclosed.

Stellenbosch raid follows busts near Ceres and Paarl

In completely separate operations during the course of April, police closed down what they called a cannabis farm network near Ceres and made mass arrests at a grow op in Paarl.

On 29 April 2022, the Hawks’ South African Narcotics Enforcement Bureau (SANEB) arrested a man they claim was responsible for co-ordinating a number of illegal grow ops near Ceres.

Police spokesman Zinzi Hani said police discovered three cannabis plantations in the remote Koue Bokkeveld mountains. They received information that led them to a farm in Bo-Swaarmoed, where they found another grow op and detained a 42-year old man who was allegedly in charge. 

And on 22 April 2022, 25 people were arrested in one of the biggest busts in South African cannabis history after the SAPS raided a farm near Paarl in the Western Cape. Police say they discovered “substantial quantities” of cannabis during the operation in the Klein Drakenstein mountains on 22 April 2022. 

SAPS spokesman Andre Traut members of the Flying Squad discovered an “illegal cannabis harvesting and manufacturing operation”  on a farm where cannabis was being grown under controlled conditions. Traut said there were many plants in the ground and a large amount of cannabis that had been packaged for market. 

He said the discovery led to further searches on the farm premises, which then led to the arrest of 25 suspects aged between 18 to 55 years. Traut said there was a possibility of further arrests as the operation was ongoing. The value of the cannabis seized has not been disclosed by police.

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