The South African Police Service (SAPS) on Thursday said that four people “believed to be of Bulgarian descent,” were found shot dead in an upmarket Cape Town neighborhood.
Police did not identify the victims but said that two men and two women aged between 40 and 50 were discovered in Constantia, situated around 23 kilometers (roughly 14 miles) away from the Cape Town city center.
Police said that all of the deceased had gunshot wounds.
“The motive for the multiple murders is yet to be determined, with detectives hard at work in search of clues. Serious and Violent Crime detectives have initiated an investigation into the murders,” the SAPS said in a statement.
One of the dead reported to be Bulgarian underworld figure
AFP news agency reported that one of the deceased was believed to be a high profile Bulgarian organized crime figure, citing judicial and government sources in Sofia.
While there has been no confirmation from local authorities that he is one of the dead, English-language publication Novinite in Bulgaria reported the same, as did other local media.
Interpol also has an international arrest warrant for the man in question on charges including murder and extortion.
Cape Town’s criminal underbelly
While Cape Town is a well-known tourist hotspot, its also a port city which finds itself at the heart of turf wars involving criminal syndicates, vying for control of the lucrative drug trade and other rackets.
In February 2018, a Bulgarian couple was gunned down in the Cape Town suburb of Bergvliet, not far from where the latest murders took place. The husband in the case was facing charges related to a credit card fraud syndicate.
In 2021 three Bulgarian nationals were sentenced to 60 years imprisonment after being arrested with bricks of cocaine with an estimated value of R580 million ($29.3 million) at Saldanha Bay, situated north of Cape Town.
South African publication Times LIVE has also reported on the Bulgarian mafia’s “infiltration” of South Africa in a podcast series.