By Alfa · Jul 5, 2004 ·
  1. Alfa

    South Africa's racketeering laws, which carry a penalty of a R100
    million fine or life imprisonment, will be put to the test in the
    Pietermaritzburg High Court in August when six alleged members of an
    international dagga dealing syndicate stand trial.

    The six appeared in the Durban Regional Court this week when they were
    served with indictments to appear in the high court.

    There have been previous cases of racketeering before SA courts, but
    none has been successfully prosecuted.

    Legal sources believe this case will be a test of the new laws, which
    fall under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

    Those standing trial are Trent Gore Fraser, 34, of Fourways,
    Johannesburg, Vincent Mphofu, 43, of Bedfordview, Lisa Nicole Zeeman,
    32, of Fourways, Kenton Bachner, 43, of Point, Durban, Peter
    Greathead, 36, and Andre Koetzen, 46, both of Springs.

    All except Fraser and Mphofu are on bail. A seventh accused, Anita
    Zucker, 79, has died.

    According to the indictment, they are charged with racketeering, money
    laundering and dealing in dagga.

    In order for the state to prove a charge of racketeering, it has to
    prove the existence of an "enterprise" and a pattern of racketeering
    activity. An enterprise could be a legitimate entity. However, in this
    matter it is alleged that the enterprise was a drug dealing syndicate.

    The state alleges that:

    Fraser was the "organiser and managing director" of the syndicate - he
    took the decisions and made the plans;

    Mphofu was the operations manager, with responsibility for collecting
    the drug couriers when they arrived in Johannesburg from Durban. He
    was also responsible for assisting with the conveyancing of suitcases
    with compressed dagga;

    Zucker initially functioned as a courier but became the recruiter of
    couriers to travel from South Africa to the United Kingdom with dagga;

    Zeeman assisted in laundering proceeds of the drug operations. She is
    Fraser's fiancee;

    Bachner is Zucker's son. He assisted her with recruiting and
    instructing the couriers;

    Greathead and Koetzen were couriers.

    The objectives of the "enterprise" were to smuggle dagga into Britain
    in suitcases and to create bank accounts to facilitate payments.

    Fraser, it is alleged, would decide when a trip had to be undertaken
    and what quantity of dagga would be sent and would communicate with
    the receivers.

    He would pay for air tickets, hand the suitcases to couriers and give
    them money for accommodation and living expenses.

    He would often arrive in the UK a few days before to assist with the
    drug transaction.

    It is alleged that the business ran from late 1999 to late

    While no amounts of either drugs or money involved are mentioned in
    the indictment, it is known that dagga is expensive in Britain.

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