Gauteng police have discovered an arms cache during a raid on a suspected dagga laboratory in Pretoria.
The weapons were found at a house in Gemsbok Street in Wierdabrug, Pretoria.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said members of the Pretoria and Shoshanguve K9 units had carried out the raid following a tip-off.
“Upon searching the premises, they found a suspected dagga laboratory inside the house and weapons. The members then widened their search and discovered what appeared to be hidden rooms inside and at the rear of the house.
“The rooms contained several weapons including AK-47s, pistols, revolvers, a mortar launcher, crossbows, ammunition boxes and a variety of other possibly illegal items,” said Naidu.
He added the police, members of the crime intelligence unit, forensic experts and crime scene investigators were summoned to the scene.
“They combed the scene until late last night and have returned this morning to resume the search as well as to continue the management of the crime scene. Every item was individually analysed and all items with incriminating value were confiscated and packaged as evidence.”
Naidu said the 50-year-old owner of the house had claimed to be a dealer and weapons collector.
“However, in terms of being a collector, initial investigations have revealed otherwise. Some firearms that should have been deactivated as collectors’ items were in fact not deactivated.
“Furthermore, the South African Police Service will consider having all licences revoked in terms of the Firearms Control Act should the suspect be found guilty of any of offences. In the meantime, his dealer’s licence is being suspended pending the outcome of the cases. The house and its contents have also been confiscated,” said Naidu.
He added all weapons recovered will be sent for ballistic testing to establish if they were used in the commission of other crimes.
The owner of the house was arrested on charges of contravening the Firearms Control Act and Drug Trafficking Act.
Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole lauded the integrated multi-disciplinary team which made the recovery.