Durban - A British man, testifying against his friend and alleged kingpin in an international drug syndicate, told the Durban Regional Court how he had patted down blocks of hashish in eucalyptus oil to ward off sniffer dogs.
Paul Beasley, 37, serving a six-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to his role in the syndicate in December 2009, testified yesterday that Walter Bromley approached him in a pub in London in 2008 to work for him as a driver for his medical company in SA.
In September 2009, Beasley and his brother, John, and South Africans Morganathan Nadasen, Perumal Naidoo and Gopal Ganesh were arrested with Bromley after the police raided five businesses and two homes. They found hashish, dagga and heroin valued at more than R600 million.
Nadasen and the Beasleys were each given an effective six-year sentence. Naidoo’s case is pending.
Ganesh, the manager of the curio shop where some of the drugs were hidden, was acquitted of all wrongdoing by regional magistrate Nanette Otto last month.
A former milkman, Beasley told the court yesterday that he was looking for another job when he was approached by Bromley, a friend of more than 15 years.
After Beasley had arrived in the country in October 2008, he lived with Bromley at his home in uMhlanga until January.
In that time, he said, he never worked for Bromley as a driver. Some time after Beasley had moved into his own place, which he said was being paid for by Bromley, he was asked to cut blocks of hashish and pack them into battery casings.
Beasley and his brother said in their pleas that Bromley told them to fill the casings with hashish, and package and seal them in vacuum bags.
“I couldn’t cut the blocks of hashish with an electric saw, it was too loud. Bromley suggested we buy two microwaves to heat the hashish and cut them into 1kg blocks using machetes.
“Once the hashish was sealed and taped, we rubbed them with eucalyptus oil. Bromley said it was to stop the sniffer dogs from smelling the drugs,” Beasley said yesterday.
He said the battery lids and the lead used to line the casings were obtained by Nadasen.
Three “layers” of curios packed in the casings, stuffed with polystyrene chips, were taken to Nadasen, who inserted small batteries inside the casings and then concealed it.
Beasley said the batteries were inserted to give off a reading in case someone tested the package. Once the batteries were packed, he said they were taken to Bromley’s house.
Beasley said he never received any money from the accused. “Before all this, we were friends. After he [Bromley] heard we were going to testify, he sent a message to my family in England, saying he was going to kill my brother and I.”
He told the court that, on occasion, when they would meet for a drink, he and Bromley would use cocaine.
Bromley, who is defending himself in the matter, put it to Beasley that he was “in cahoots” with Naidoo. Beasley denied this. Bromley said he never offered Beasley a job.
The trial continues.