£21m of Class A drugs and nearly £2m cash seized in Essex - one of the largest seizures in history of Essex Police
PUBLISHED: 11:50 08 July 2020
This represents the largest seizures of drugs and cash in the history of Essex Police.
More than £21 million worth of Class A drugs and £1.85 million in cash has been seized in Essex and 13 people have been arrested as part of an international operation targeting serious and organised crime.
It is one of the largest seizures of drugs and cash in the history of Essex Police.
The operation was led in the UK by the National Crime Agency, through Operation Venetic.
Across the UK, it resulted in 746 arrests, and the seizure of over £54million in cash, 77 firearms and over 1,800 rounds of ammunition, and more than two tonnes of Class A and B drugs.
It also included the seizure of over 28 million Etizolam pills (street Valium) from an illicit laboratory, 55 high value cars, and 73 luxury watches.
In addition, it has prevented rival gangs carrying out kidnappings and executions on UK streets by mitigating over 200 threats to life.
Organised crime groups have been using EncroChat, a secure mobile phone instant messaging service, to co-ordinate and plan criminal activities, distribute illegal items and for money laundering activities.
Two months ago overseas law enforcement agencies infiltrated the platform and shared the intelligence.
Some of this intelligence involved the sale of Class A drugs in Essex.
Essex Police worked with the NCA and the Eastern Region Serious Operations Unit (ERSOU).
Police seized 138kg of cocaine and 8kg of heroin, with a combined street value of £20 million, in a lorry at the Port of Harwich on June 1.
During another operation, drugs and £80,000 in cash were discovered in Hullbridge on May 23.
Officers stopped a vehicle on the A13 at the junction with the M25 on 13 May and discovered £750,000 in cash.
A further £750,000 in cash and 5kg of cocaine, with a street value of £500,000, was discovered during a search in Basildon.
Detective Chief Inspector Lee Morton, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “These operations highlight our determination to disrupt serious and organised crime operating in Essex.
“In the last eight weeks we have seen some of the largest seizures of drugs and cash in the history of Essex Police and we’ve prevented a significant amount of drugs from getting into our communities.
“These results signify a substantial blow to organised crime in our county.
“Drugs cause misery in our communities and the selling of drugs is often linked to violence on our streets and the exploitation of vulnerable people.
“We will not tolerate this and will continue to disrupt the activities of those involved and work to bring them to justice.”
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