Druggies masking their trade, Newsline

CRIMINALS are capitalising on Covid-19 by concealing drugs in masks.

Last week, a 25-year-old man was found in possession of Mandrax tablets, concealed in a mask, by Ocean View Police.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said their crime analysts had not noted this in other areas.

Reports indicated that there had also been a packet of tik found concealed in a mask, but the owner was not traced.

Kathy Cronje, chairperson for Ocean View community policing forum, said that the concealment was horrendous.

Mayco member for Safety and Security JP Smith said the technique would not intimidate them.

“They search everywhere, occasionally even private places if they have got decent cause and of course by a gender-appropriate person. They will search in your cap, in your socks, in your jacket lining and they will check your mask.

“If the person demands they don’t touch the mask, the officers will sanitise their hands and search it. One of the first things an officer would say, just remove the mask a bit so they can see the face and officers sometimes profile people by taking a picture for their occurrence digital books with probable cause,” said Smith.

Ashley Potts, director for Cape Town Drug Counselling Centre, said he is not surprised that drugs are being hidden in masks.

“They are very creative. They probably use the lining in their masks because it can be camouflaged and I haven’t really seen anyone searching a mask. They would do anything to make a sale,” said Potts.

He added that the other ways used by criminals to hide drugs included hiding them in roller-blades.

“In Mitchells Plain, we had several incidents where they would wrap a string around their tooth or use a condom and swallow it . As long as there is a demand, there would be a supply,” said Potts.