Two unnamed Malawians were on Tuesday evening arrested in South Africa in connection with a drug factory police uncovered in Johannesburg.
The factory, according to media reports in South Africa, was once a place of worship but was turned into the drug manufacturing laboratory.
The building used to house the Old Grace Church on the Hallgate, and the discovery was made after the building nearly burnt down, according to iol.co.za.
Police arrested three people and chemicals worth R3 million (about K41 million at the current exchange rate) used to manufacture mandraxwere recovered.
The media report said the bust, which is said to be the biggest in a small town of Nigel, Ekurhulen, led to the arrest of a South African man and the two Malawian men on Tuesday evening.
They were being detained at Nigel police station.
A suspect believed to be involved in the manufacturing of drugs, the report said, was arrested after been found at the church building.
The fire brigade had called police after firemen spotted the drug-manufacturing chemicals while putting out a blaze.
“The Nigel police members received an arson complaint at 5:40pm. On their arrival, they found neighbours were trying to put out the fire.
“On further investigation, they found drums, bags and buckets full of chemicals and acids in and outside the premises,” police told the media.
On Wednesday morning, the two Malawians and one South African were brought back to the scene as police continued their investigations.
More than 30 drums of liquid and bags of dry products were found. Pots, gas burners, acid and semi-processed products were among some of the other things police discovered, according to the media reports.
The trio’s arrest, which came shortly after the chemicals burnt and caused a fire inside the hall, aroused the curiosity of neighbours, who called the police and emergency personnel.