Case against 16 suspects in international cocaine operation postponed

Eight suspects appeared in the Bellville Magistrates Court on Tuesday on preliminary charges of dealing in drugs.  

The eightsome are linked to a cocaine smuggling ring between South Africa and Brazil.

The Hawks’s Katlego Mogale said 40-year-old Niel Pieter Van Zyl was arrested in June 2021 after driving a bakkie pulling a trailer with a boat on the N1 in Pretoria. At the time, 805 kilograms of cocaine were found concealed inside the hull of the ski-boat, with an estimated value of R400 million.

‘’Their case is part of an ongoing investigation into the proliferarion of drugs in the country. Previously, assets including a bakkie, trailer, three boats with a combined value of more than R18,6 million together with the drugs with an estimated value of R400 million and cash seized on the N1 highway were finally forfeited to the state by the Gauteng and Western Cape High courts respectively,’’ said Colonel Katlego Mogale.

The case against David Michael Banister (52); Allister William Jackson (33); Marinus van Niekerk (31); Jacobus Hendrik Slabbert (41); Mario Mark Joseph (44); John Frederieck Roodman (47); Andre Welgemoed (44) and Anthony Trevor Tarr's (42) was postponed to 8 November 2022, where they will be appearing in the Pretoria Magistrates court for formal bail application.

Furthermore, Mogale said 8 more suspects which include Rafiek Baderoen (45), Rashied Baderoen (49),  Michael Norman (39), Tenikaitis Valdas (58) , Jaco de Kock (49) Izak Strbydom (46) and Hugh Stam (48) were arrested and the case has been postponed to 6 December 2022.

‘’They were identified as the members of an international drug trafficking syndicate, allegedly involved in the smuggling cocaine between South Africa and Brazil.’’

‘’These arrests and seizures which dismantled an international drug cartel stems from an extensive collaborative project driven investigation by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), Australian Federal Police (AFP)and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).’’

 The Hawks spokesperson added that Israeli national, Ahmed Isa also known as Mickey, along with two Lithuanian nationals, Donates Jukna and Jonas Zulpa are still at large.

Mogale said more arrests and seizures of property used in cocaine smuggling are imminent.



 Done By: Mitchum George