• Sunday, June 16, 2024

News

Police seize £130m worth of cannabis; arrest 1,000 in major crackdown

Around 11,000 officers were involved in Operation Mille

Representational image (iStock)

By: Pramod Thomas

IN a largest ever crackdown on organised crime, police confiscated cannabis plants worth around £130 million and arrested nearly 1,000 people across the country, the BBC reported.

As many as 182,422 plants worth around £115m-£130m were seized in raids across England and Wales in June.

According to the report, officers also seized 20 firearms, £636,000 in cash and 20kg of cocaine, with a street value of £1m.

The Operation Mille has been described as the ‘most significant’ of its kind ever run across UK law enforcement, the BBC report added.

The operation focused on a lucrative enterprise that authorities suspect serves as a significant revenue source for organized crime groups (OCGs).

These gangs are known to engage in various illegal activities, including money laundering, smuggling of Class A drugs, and acts of violence.

Cannabis falls under the Class B category and is distinct from Class A substances like heroin or cocaine. However, criminal organisations view large-scale cannabis cultivation as a primary means of generating illicit profits.

According to Steve Jupp, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for Serious and Organised Crime, the operation has effectively disrupted a substantial portion of criminal activities.

“We know that organised networks involved in cannabis production are also directly linked to an array of other serious criminality such as Class A drug importation, modern slavery and wider violence and exploitation,” he was quoted as saying by the BBC.

“The intelligence gathered will also help inform future law enforcement across the country.”

Around 11,000 officers from all 43 police forces in England and Wales, as well as the National Crime Agency and Immigration Enforcement, co-ordinated over 1,000 warrants in June.

Of those arrested, more than 450 people have since been charged.

Jupp said that although cannabis-related crime is commonly perceived as being of a lesser magnitude, there exist evident trends concerning the exploitation and violence employed by organised crime groups to safeguard their ventures.

Besides, cannabis production is just one aspect of their criminal operations, with their involvement extending to broader criminal activities that negatively impact our communities, he pointed out.

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