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Almost £100,000 cash seized and eight arrests in organised crime crackdown

17 Dec 2020

Eight people have been arrested and almost £100,000 in cash seized after police raided nine properties in Luton as part of a crackdown on drugs and weapons.

Almost 180 officers and staff were involved in this morning’s (Thursday) early morning operation that we led.

It was part of a coordinated strike against a suspected organised criminal network involved in the supply of illegal drugs and firearms in the Biscot Road area of Luton.

Information from members of the community provided vital clues to police working on the operation, which also recovered more than half a kilo of suspected Class A drugs.

This was the eighth day of enforcement action under Operation Costello, our response to the national Operation Venetic, which looks at criminality associated with specialist encrypted phones.

Cracking the encryption on these specialist devices has enabled police to shine a light on the networks suspected of being involved in the highest levels of serious and organised crime across the country.

Prior to today’s enforcement, since July we had carried out 65 warrants under Operation Costello, resulting in 31 arrests, 14 people being charged and the seizure of firearms, Class A and B drugs, as well as approximately £600,000 in cash.

The Eastern Region Special Operations Unit has also run a number of major operations targeting organised crime in Bedfordshire and across the region as part of Operation Venetic.

The regional unit’s work in Luton has resulted in the seizure of 90 kilos of Class A drugs, seven firearms, around £40,000 in cash as well as jewellery worth in the region of £250,000.

Detective Chief Inspector Louisa Glynn said: “Breaking open the channels through which criminal networks communicate with one another has given us a once in a generation opportunity to stamp out organised crime from our communities.

“This has been another successful day in an operation which is already having a massive impact in Luton. The results above speak for themselves in terms of the drugs, cash and weapons we have taken off the streets.

“More widely, violent disorder incidents have continued to fall since the summer, while there have been no reports of firearms discharges or incidents of serious violence directly attributed to Bedfordshire’s organised crime groups or gangs since the beginning of August.

“This is making everyone safer, and is only made possible with the help and cooperation of our communities.

“Giving information about things like unexplained wealth or suspicious activity, either to us or anonymously through Crimestoppers, is crucial in order to help us bring those involved in these criminal networks to justice.”

A man in his 20s has been charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs as a result of today's operation.

Seven other people remain in police custody for questioning.

Anyone with information about drug dealing, county lines or child criminal exploitation can contact Bedfordshire Police on 101 or via the force’s online reporting centre.

All of these reports are fed into police intelligence systems and can help officers build up a better picture of organised crime.

You can also report information anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

For more information or support about getting out of a gang, please visit bedsveru.org

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