'Mr Big' poses for selfies with R3m stash during high court drug trial
One of Mitchells Plain's biggest suspected drug dealers bent down to take a selfie with drugs worth more than R3m in the Cape Town high court on Thursday.
Behind Fadwaan Murphy, policemen in ski masks holding assault rifles looked on as he smiled for a photo.
Colonel Johan Smit gave testimony about the heroin, mandrax and tik in a pile at the front of the court. It was packed into bags ranging from a few hundred grams to a few milligrams, ready for distribution on the street.
Murphy allegedly peddled the drugs through an empire with its headquarters two roads from West End Primary School in the suburb of Lentegeur.
A convoy of tactical response team officers carrying rifles and wearing helmets and bulletproof vests fanned out outside court and secured the entrance to the holding cells when the contraband was brought in.
With one of at least two cellphones Murphy had in court, he took photos of the tactical response team members’ faces and a reporter, proclaiming loudly that he could track the journalist’s identity through software on his phone.
Murphy faces 229 counts relating to his alleged drug empire, with charges including racketeering, money laundering and drug dealing.
Two of the houses his organisation allegedly operated from, 7 and 10 Turskvy Street, were hotspots for drug-related arrests.
The activities there resulted in the community calling on vigilante group People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (Pagad) to try and burn down 7 Turksvy Street, and also resulted in a dispute between Murphy and the mother of a young man in the area who had become a drug addict.
According to testimony by the police’s Mitchells Plain cluster crime intelligence information manager, Col Gerhardus Muller, the two houses had already been identified as drug outlets when the police started a massive project, named “Toxic”, to map the drug dealing in Mitchells Plain in 2004.
The racketeering case only revolves around activities which took place between July 2013 and September 2015.
Project Toxic discovered more than 200 drug outlets in Mitchells Plain, all of which were protected by street gangs and their affiliated number prison gangs.
As Muller was testifying on Thursday, Murphy stood up and left court, returning 10 minutes later.
No 7 Turksvy Street was also the registered address for Ulterior Trading Solutions, the company which allegedly fronted Murphy's criminal empire.
His co-accused - Shafieka Murphy, Glenda Bird, Dominic Davidson, Leon Paulsen and Desmond Jacobs - were all allegedly employees of the company, which the state claims laundered millions of rand from the proceeds of drug sales.
The trial has been running for months but ran into a snag when a witness who had agreed to cooperate with the prosecution appeared to be no longer doing so.
Felicia Wenn, who was arrested with Shafieka and another state witness, was declared a hostile witness on Thursday by acting judge Diane Davis after a lengthy trial-within-a-trial.
Davis said that although Wenn was hostile, her statements to the police about Murphy would not be discarded.