Police have sent out a stern warning to drug dealers about peddling drugs to children following a tip-off and investigation into drug houses fronting as shops as well as vendors who sell sweets at school fences during break-time.
Grassy Park police station commander Colonel Dawood Laing said his office will be conducting inspections at shops and investigating vendors who sell dagga laced products to children after a drug dealer was arrested last week for selling drug lollipops as sweets at a shop in Keith Road in Ottery.
Police raided a well-known drug house in Ottery and found R10 000 worth of compressed dagga and soon they received a tip-off about the dagga-laced sweets from the community which led to the 27-year old suspect’s arrest at the shop on Wednesday September 20 when police discovered the dagga-laced sweets and lollipop drugs worth over R70 000.
Colonel Laing said they were previously informed about the vendors as well as shopkeepers who sell these sweets to children across the precinct and said Grassy Park police has made these investigations a top-priority because of the risk dagga products have on young children.
He advised parents to be vigilant of their children’s behaviour and if there are any changes.
“The vendors and shops are not vetted, the packaging is open and there’s no branding on it which means you don’t actually even know what your child is buying when they go to the shop. Parents innocently give their children money to get sweets at the shop and they can so easily buy these drug sweets without even knowing and then be exposed to these drugs and children won’t be able to differentiate between normal sweets and dagga laced sweets.”
He added that drug dealers are finding new and innovative ways to get children addicted: “This is something that we do not want for our children because dagga could be a gateway to worse drugs and could affect them very negatively at such a young age.”
Colonel Laing thanked the community for the tip-off and asked for further intervention: “We ask the community’s continued support so that we can deal with this issue and make sure that drugs are not being sold to our children. We cannot allow these drug dealers to dump their drugs on our kids and them tomorrow when they become addicts then we want to ask where the children got it or how they started experimenting.”
He advised residents that dagga is still illegal and anyone found peddling drugs, especially to children will be arrested and jailed.
Grassy Park Community Police Forum (CPF) secretary Nicole Jacobus said the forum were shocked to hear of the recent case and advised parents to keep a close eye on their children and report any instances where they suspect their children have been given drug-laced sweets.
“We now have to be extra vigilant because the sweets could be at any shop because many sweets aren’t marked and young children could so easily be exposed. The law needs to take its full course in these cases because the drug dealers are killing our children and trying to get them enslaved to drugs at a young age,” she said.
She said the recent successful arrest was only possible because of the community’’s assistance and commended those who’ve come forward.
“The only way we can curb this is with the community’s help. They should continue helping police and working with the police because they cannot do it alone. We need your assistance to keep our children safe.”
About 90 pupils from Pulamadibogo Primary School in Soshanguve, Gauteng, were hospitalised last week after they ingested muffins laced with marijuana, which were sold to them by two men. Colonel Laing said the amount of dagga in the sweets discovered at the shop was not as high as those in the Pulamadibogo case but warned that there seems to be a trend to expose young children to dagga.
The man arrested by Grassy Park police last week will appear in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on charges of drug dealing.