The dealer, who lives in a block of flats up the road from Village Talk, was found with about hard drugs worth about R12 000, after his apprehension in the shopping centre’s car park.
In his possession was also a cellphone, with an incriminating trail of SMS messages and contact details from a number of Howick residents, from high school students to business owners.
“If it hadn’t been for our incredibly alert security company, Superior Security, he would never have been caught,” said St Johns Village Estate Manager Craig Bennett.
The dealer was first spotted at the Lifestyle centre on 26 March, when security guards noticed him walking into the Pick n Pay, and then exiting, without any shopping, shortly afterwards, with two white men. “Our video footage from our security cameras captured him handing something over to them, so the red flag went up immediately,” said Bennett.
Last Thursday, he returned to the centre, making some arbitrary purchases in the supermarket before leaving. “The security guards recognised him and notified me and Superior’s armed response unit. His vehicle was blocked in and he was asked if he was doing anything illegal. He said he was selling dagga, so he was handcuffed and taken to our guardhouse where we showed him the footage of him passing something to the two men the previous month. He admitted to selling whoonga, the dangerous street drug known as CAT (or ‘the poor man’s cocaine’), as well as cocaine.”
In a joint operation, Magma Security was called to assist, and the man’s vehicle was searched before he led the officers to his flat, which was also searched. “They found 55 bags of CAT, R1300 cash in his car stuffed into the handle of the gearlever, a scale and some plastic baggies in which drugs are normally sold. His flat turned up three bags of crystal meth as well as other drugs suspected to be heroin. Stolen TV sets, laptops and cellphones were also found.”
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The Nigerian was taken to Howick SAPS where he was formally arrested. He was expected to appear in court this week.
“I would like to acknowledge the incredible work of Superior Security,” said Bennett. “They did a sterling job: their follow-up was spot on, they asked all the right questions, and produced this winning result.”