South African spy chief’s wife implicated in drugs arrest

Sheryl Cwele

Sheryl Cwele

The wife of Siyabonga C. Cwele, South Africa’s Minister of Intelligence, has been implicated by South African and Brazilian authorities in an international drugs trafficking case. Sheryl Cwele, whose husband has headed South Africa’s intelligence Ministry since last September, was found to have exchanged dozens of emails, letters and text messages with a woman arrested last June in Brazil, while secretly transporting over $300,000-worth of raw cocaine. The woman, Tessa Beetge, from Margate, a resort town in KwaZulu-Natal, traveled last summer from South Africa to Colombia and Peru, and from there to São Paulo, Brazil, where she was arrested on June 13, while transiting through on a flight to Johannesburg. Suspecting that Beetge was acting on behalf of a major transnational drug smuggling network, South African anti-narcotics agents investigated her private communications records. They were stunned to discover that she had been in frequent contact with Sheryl Cwele prior to, as well as during, her trip to South America, and even after her arrest. Officials are refusing to reveal further details about the case, but South Africa’s The Sunday Times newspaper claims that the spy chief’s wife noted in one of her early messages to Beetge that she wished to talk to her about a “business venture”. She also made Beetge’s flight and visa arrangements, and told her she would receive $2,500 upon her return to South Africa. Asked about the case, Sheryl Cwele responded: “I’m innocent […]. I wish I’d never helped her, but I trusted her and I felt sorry for her […]. I don’t know whether I’m a stupid Christian or not”. She added that “God is not asleep”. Meanwhile, Tessa Beetge, who is being held in a prison in Brazil, has yet to be charged. The South African authorities estimate that the police investigation into the case will not be completed before the end of April.

About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

One Response to South African spy chief’s wife implicated in drugs arrest

  1. amandzing says:

    and today cwele was arrested…

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