700 arrests and the seizure of; £54 million in illegal money, 2 tonnes of drugs, 77 firearms, 1800 rounds of ammunition, four grenades and 55 high value cars – a simply stunning outcome to a complex and prolonged operation.
The operation had been painstakingly planned for months and comes following the successful infiltration of the clandestine communications system known as EncroChat – a system used by the middle and upper tier of international organised crime to facilitate their illicit dealings.
Millions of messages were obtained and a plan developed between the National Crime Agency, Home Office, Police Chiefs, and various international partners. The plan was under active consideration throughout the entirety of lockdown, with targets and locations identified for raids over a period of many months.
The successful apprehension of these ghastly criminals will be a game-changer in the fight against organised crime and the drug trade in the UK, with many of the smaller county lines gangs that plague our own local area feeling very exposed at this moment.
As the Minister for Policing, Crime and Justice, I had been briefed throughout on the operation and I would like to thank Lynne Owens, the Director General of The National Crime Agency.I’ve known Lynne Owens for many years and recruited her as an Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police. She and her team deserve our deep gratitude and congratulations for a truly brilliant, game-changing operation and for making our streets and communities a safer place to live.