A 49-year-old cannabis farmer was arrested for a third time this week after dagga worth R2 million was seized from his farm in Brits.

Russel de Beer, who is a major supplier of dagga around the country, was arrested in 2019 when his shop Canapax was raided and dagga worth over R3 million seized.

He was arrested in 2004 and 1.2 tons of dagga was found at his Kameeldrift farm, but the case was withdrawn and he sued the State for R2.6 million.

However, the High Court in Pretoria dismissed his application and he later lost his petition, with costs, in the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.

Police spokesperson, Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso, said De Beer was charged again in 2019 for contravening the Medicine and Related Substances Act and dealing in dagga, for selling Canapex franchises for cannabis dispensaries and other related products.

He said De Beer would now face an array of charges which include, dealing in dagga, the cultivation of dagga, and fraud and money laundering to the tune of approximately R10 million.

Russel de Beer (49)

The Hawks, assisted by members of the Local Criminal Records Centre and the Forensic Science Laboratory, swooped on his farm on Tuesday and seized dagga worth R2 million, R54 000 in cash and also seized his vehicle.

Captain Rikhotso said a preservation order was also obtained for a cash amount of approximately R800 000-00 and a restraint order for a farm worth approximately R3 million.

He said a 27-year-old woman, Charne Steyn and 45-year-old, Archibald Mogale, were also arrested and appeared in the Brits Magistrate’s Court alongside De Beer.

De Beer and Moglale were granted bail of R100 000 while Steyn was granted bail of R10 000.

Rikhotso said a fourth accused, 25-year-old Ulrich Fritz, handed himself over to police and also appeared in court where he was granted bail of R5 000.

The matter was postponed to 9 July for further investigation.