Street beggar arrested for drug possession

Cindy Snyders (33).

MBOMBELA – After hitting rock bottom – living on the streets and losing her betrothed to drugs, Cindy Snyders (33) seems to be digging a bigger hole for herself after she was arrested for possession on Tuesday morning.

Snyders begs at certain traffic lights in the city. Her betrothed, Wayne Smith (26) who lived on the streets with her, died on May 8 in Rob Ferreira Hospital. His organs shut down due to his drug use. At the time people thought Snyders was pregnant, but she apparently had faked it in a ploy to get motorists to give her money.

Divergent Ops’ Jacques Meiring said a call from a member of the public raised suspicion. His source had seen Snyders entering a vlei area in Ferreira Street with another beggar, called “Blessing”.

Meiring went to investigate. “I saw them sitting in the bush crouched over. I could see they were busy doing something. Then I saw what looked like crack-cocaine rocks in packets next to them. When I came closer, I saw Cindy putting liquid into a needle and starting to inject herself.”

He asked her what drug it was, and she said it was heroin. “She told me it was ‘Blessing’s’ drugs. At this, he grabbed some of the drugs and ran away.”

The paraphernalia found in her possession.

Meiring decided to stay with Snyders and called the police’s Sgt Michael Horn who arrived and arrested her. Police spokesman Capt Dawie Pretorius said Snyders had numerous cases against her for drug-related crimes, as well as for theft.

“She has never been to jail, although we have about 10 pages of cases instituted against her,” said Pretorius. “She was convicted twice recently, once for drug possession and once for shoplifting. She received suspended sentences for both convictions,” he said.

Since 2013 Snyders had shoplifted and stolen various items from locals including cellphones, iPads, tablets, champagne glasses, cutlery and jewellery, including a diamond ring.

Sgt Loewie Laubscher of the drug unit has interviewed Snyders numerous times over the past few years. He had tried to assist her in receiving help for her addiction. “The last time she was arrested, she was with a dealer and we know she covered for him. She took the rap, but refused any help I offered her. I told her we could arrange the court to send her to rehab, but she did not want the help.”

Sanca Lowveld’s director, Marina Erasmus, said if a person was arrested and the drugs were found to be in their system, it would still be considered a case of possession. “If she is convicted following her most recent arrest, she can be sentenced to involuntary rehabilitation. Our courts can, therefore, do something about it.”

According to Erasmus, research showed that involuntary and voluntary rehabilitation had almost the same success rate.

“After a few months, when they have come clean, addicts can come to their senses and realise they don’t want this life.” Erasmus said, in cases of heroin and nyaope, involuntary rehabilitation should be implemented as sentences as a rule of thumb.

Snyders appeared in the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court yesterday. At the time of going to press, the outcome of her court appearance was not yet known.

Tereasa Dias

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