In what ways did the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic impact on the illegal drug trade? We explore how traders changed their modi operandi in an article published from p14 in Servamus: June 2022.
Dogs are known for their excellent sense of smell. Read our article published from p30 in Servamus: June 2022 about how a South African company has trained dogs to also detect COVID-19.
The floods of April 2022 caused havoc and death in KwaZulu-Natal. Fortunately, hundreds of search and rescue specialists used their skills to help search for those who were in need. Refer to an article published from p36 in Servamus: June 2022.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
According to the World Drug Report for 2021, as released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), drug use resulted in the deaths of almost half a million people in 2019 (UNODC, 2021). Many of these deaths are the result of synthetic drug use. Synthetic drugs contribute to one of the most significant drug problems worldwide (UNODC, 2018). The synthetic drug market has expanded which means that drug users are exposed to an increasingly diversified market of synthetic drugs (UNODC, 2021).
By Kotie Geldenhuys
In December 2011, 38-year-old Janice Bronwyn Linden from Durban was executed in China. She was executed three years after she had been arrested on 30 November 2008, following her arrival at the Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, without declaring any goods. During the normal search procedure, 3 kg of methamphetamine hydrochloride were found in her luggage. She maintained her innocence and claimed that the drugs had been planted in her suitcase. But her appeal was rejected (BBC, 2011). In June 2016, 34-year-old Tyron Lee Coetzee from the Eastern Cape was arrested at Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat Airport, carrying 1.46 kg of cocaine in his luggage. He apparently confessed to Vietnamese investigators that a Nigerian man had contracted him to smuggle cocaine into Ho Chi Minh City from Brazil, via a transfer in Dubai. According to reports, Tyron Lee was offered $3500 (approximately R50 000) to carry the drugs. In August 2018, he was found guilty of smuggling drugs and handed a death sentence in Hanoi, Vietnam (Reuters, 2018). Despite the threat of harsh penalties, it is incomprehensible that people volunteer to become drug mules which makes us question whether they do it out of greed or to make ends meet. However, not all drug mules do so willingly - some are innocent victims who have been tricked into smuggling drugs abroad, without their knowledge. But irrespective of whether or not they volunteered, drug mules are nothing but pawns in the hands of international drug syndicates.
By Annalise Kempen
WhatsApp and Telegram have become popular tools to send messages quickly and at almost no cost. Criminals have realised that these message platforms provide them with a cheap tool to market their illicit goods to a wider audience, as long as they have their cellphone numbers. This is exactly what recently happened in Dubai where drug peddlers had sent WhatsApp messages from unknown numbers to residents across the country, offering them different types of drugs at different prices. “Once recipients show interest, GPS locations of drugs are shared with buyers after a payment has been made. Buyers then collect the drugs, which are usually buried underground, from the specified locations,” said Colonel Abdullah Matar Al Khayat, the manager of Hemaya International Centre at Dubai Police (Zakaria, 2022).
Compiled by Annalise Kempen
We all know someone who has been struggling with an addiction - ranging from prescription medication to illegal drugs, alcohol to gambling or even shopping. When that addict is a sibling, a direct family member or a parent, it is often much more difficult to explain the addiction to the children - even though it is vital to be honest throughout the process if we want to maintain some form of respect and trust and ensure that the relationship will continue in future.