Undercover operation used to bust cop

Cape Town - An undercover operation was authorised to trap a police official suspected of smuggling drugs to prisoners at Cape Town Central Police Station, the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court heard on Thursday.

A police agent posed as a man who had just been arrested, and was locked in a cell, as part of the trap.

After a while, the police sergeant who had locked the agent in the cell brought the “suspect” a food parcel, at the request of a man posing as the suspect’s friend.

The agent, who may not be named, testified at the trial of police sergeant Cornelius Wessels, who has pleaded not guilty to corruption and dealing in or possession of drugs.

The agent told the court he opened the parcel in Wessels’s presence, to find a small plastic bag containing dagga concealed in the food.

The agent, who knew what the parcel contained, said he opened the parcel in such a manner that Wessels could see the plastic container.

Instead of confiscating it, Wessels told the suspect to discard the empty container in the toilet, after he had eaten the food, the court heard.

Drug dealing and smuggling

According to the charge sheet, the operation was authorised by the Western Cape Directorate for Public Prosecutions, after information that police officials at Cape Town Central police station were involved in drug dealing and smuggling.

The agent told the court: “My instructions from the captain in charge of the operation were to open the parcel in the accused’s presence, and in such a way that he could see the container hidden in the food.

“If the accused did nothing about it, I had to inform the captain by way of a cellphone call, the moment the accused left the cell.”

Wessels was “very calm” when he handed the parcel to the agent.

Almost immediately after the agent had reported to the captain, Wessels returned to the cell, accompanied by other members of the operation.

The agent said he handed the food parcel to the captain, in Wessels’s presence, and Wessels was visibly shocked.

The agent added: “The captain opened the parcel, and showed the contents to the accused, and a R100 note, given earlier to the accused as part of the trap, was found in the accused’s possession,” the agent said.

Questioned by legal aid defence attorney, Hayley Lawrence, the agent said he was a police informer, and became one at the request of the police.

The case continues.