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Six arrests and drugs seized during major organised crime operation

10 Nov 2020

Six people have been arrested and a significant amount of suspected Class A drugs seized as Bedfordshire Police continued a major crackdown on organised crime in Luton.

Police today (Tuesday) executed warrants at five properties across the town. During the operation, officers found large quantities of suspected cocaine, as well as a taser.

As a result, four men and one woman were arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of a controlled drug, while another man was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class B drugs.

All currently remain in police custody for questioning.

This was the seventh day of enforcement action under Operation Costello, Bedfordshire Police’s response to the national Operation Venetic, which looks at criminality associated with the Encrochat communication platform.

The operation has enabled police to shine a light on the networks involved in the highest levels of serious and organised crime across the country.

Intelligence shared by European law enforcement agencies allowed investigators to understand the illicit activity of people using the Encrochat system and showed the scale of criminal businesses operating across multiple countries.

Over the past five months, leading up to today (Tuesday), Bedfordshire Police had carried out 58 warrants under Operation Costello, resulting in 24 arrests, 11 people being charged and the seizure of firearms, Class A and B drugs, as well as approximately £500,000 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, Bedfordshire Police’s tactical lead for imported county lines, said: “This is one of the biggest and most important organised crime operations we have ever carried out as a force, as we continue to crackdown on those who we suspect to be involved in county lines, drug dealing and wider organised crime.

“Our results so far are excellent and it demonstrates how, together, we are making Bedfordshire a hostile place for organised criminal networks to operate.

“Drugs are a catalyst for many crime types, with organised crime groups often driving much of the serious violence, exploitation and anti-social behaviour which blights our communities.

“We work tirelessly to stop organised criminal networks running in and out of Bedfordshire, with proactive patrols and in-depth investigations, but we need support from our communities too.

“For these operations to happen and to have a positive impact, we need our residents to continue reporting their concerns and help us keep Bedfordshire safe.”

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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