LAWFUEL – UK Legal Announcement Service – The Met police carried out one of the largest series of simultaneous raids ever undertaken today [13.02.08] at over 30 addresses throughout London.
Twenty two people have been arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking and money laundering millions of pounds. An estimated 100 kilos of suspected cocaine and cash have been seized and several firearms discovered. The operation, led by the Met’s Special Intelligence Section (SIS) targeted a criminal network believed to be one of the biggest drug traffickers currently in the UK.
Officers from the Territorial Support Group and SIS simultaneously targeted key addresses at 0530 this morning [13.02.08]. At an address in Hillingdon officers used a JCB to gain access to the residential property. Further addresses, including various business premises, were subsequently searched through the morning.
This is the largest simultaneous entry done by the Territorial Support Group in London, using 520 officers to enter the addresses. Taking seven weeks to plan, each address was individually risk assessed to work out the bespoke method of entry. Supported by specialist staff from the Method of Entry Unit who use a full range of specialist entry equipment, every address was entered despite having to combat a range of unique defence features.
It was believed the network were converting drugs money into 500 Euro notes to launder vast cash profits believed to up to £3 million a week.
The network has been investigated since August 2007 by the Special Intelligence Section. The suspects arrested today are believed to be the top tier and key players involved in the moving and distribution of cocaine and cannabis throughout the UK. They are believed to have substantial connections in Europe, using these contacts to traffic drugs into the UK. Approximately 15 arrests have already been made in relation to this enquiry and 70 kilos [street value £500,000] have been seized. Officers have also seized over £2.5 million in cash and several firearms before today’s raids.
Detective Superintendent Steven Richardson, head of SIS said:
“Today’s operation has been hugely successful. We have targeted the key players in a serious and organised criminal network culminating in a huge blow to the illegal drugs industry in the UK. These criminals have been living the lives of wealthy businessmen through criminal activity and today we have put a stop to this. We believe this network has been supplying drugs around the country, earning millions of pounds every week. This investigation and today’s operation, with the assistance of officers from the Territorial Support Group, will have succeeded in taking out a group of ruthless and determined criminals who sought to profit from the sale of illegal drugs.”