Crime & Courts

Cellphones, beer, drugs seized in Pietermaritzburg prison raid

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SOME of the items seized during a raid at the Pietermaritzburg Prison on Monday.

Durban – A joint search operation conducted by Correctional Services officials and police at the Medium A section in Pietermaritzburg Prison on Monday led to the seizure of 160 cellphones, 525 dagga cigarettes and about 200 whoonga straws.

Correctional Services spokesperson Thulani Mdluli said the illegal items were confiscated from inmates.

“All those inmates implicated will be accordingly served with further charges. If found guilty, it may prolong their sentences,” he said.

Two tablets, 114 earphones, 11 2-litre bottles of home-made beer, R350 in cash, 12 USB cables, 35 mandrax tablets and 104 SIM cards were also found.

Mnikelwa Nxele, KwaZulu-Natal regional commissioner, said while there had been a decrease in weapons found during raids, there had been an increase in drugs and cellphones.

“Increases in drugs and cellphones is disheartening though we strive to ensure safety and security within our care,” Nxele said.

Mdluli said that the raid was part of Operation Vala, a national security programme intended to increase security awareness and proactive planning for the department’s readiness to deal with challenges.

“Its purpose has been to evoke security consciousness in officials on the safety and security in our Correctional Centres and the prevention of serious security-related incidents during the festive season,” he said.

Mdluli said the other KZN centres raided by Correctional Services officers in collaboration with the police during the operation included Kokstad and Westville.

Last Monday, police and officials seized more than 400 litres of sorghum beer during a raid at Westville Prison.

Other illegal items found included about R1600 in cash, 75 mandrax pills, ecstasy pills, 388 dagga cigarettes and 51 cellphones with a lot of SIM cards, Correctional Services said.

“It is important to mention that raids are part and parcel of security operations throughout the year and we will continue to do them because it is part of our mandate,” Mdluli said.

The Mercury

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