Thames Valley Police support international operation to tackle serious and organised crime

MORE than £300,000 in cash, multiple kilos of class A and B drugs and numerous mobile phones have been seized by Thames Valley Police during a major operation over the last three months.

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The major police probe has been described as one of the ‘the biggest operation of its kind’ in the UK, as TVP has been working alongside other forces in the region as part of Operation Ventic, which has been aiming to tackle serious and organised crime.

In total the operation has seized more than £3 million in cash and more than 86kilos of drugs.

Drug raids across Wokingham were part of the operation and conducted by detectives from SEROCU’s Dark Web team.

The force said from raids across London and Wokingham on Friday, June 19, it stormed five addresses and seized eight kilos of cocaine, approximately £100,000 in cash, along with 53 digital devices, a number of which were encrypted.

Five men were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply and concealing, disguising converting and transferring criminal property offences.

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Across the Thames Valley, 20 arrests were made in total for numerous offences, including drugs supply and money laundering.

TVP say their investigations are continuing, and so far four people have been charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and money laundering.

Detective Superintendent Katy Barrow-Grint, head of Specialist Operations for TVP, said: “Thames Valley Police is committed to tackling serious and organised crime and will disrupt it wherever we can.

“Our ongoing commitment through our Stronghold campaign means that we will work in partnership with the NCA and the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) as well as other police forces and partner agencies to target this type of criminality and also safeguard anyone we find who has been exploited.

“We know how much serious and organised crime and particularly the distribution and sale of drugs impacts on our communities and the harm it does to people across the Thames Valley.

“This joint work has been hugely successful in seizing money, drugs and firearms, disrupting drug dealing operations, but we will not stop there, we will continue to take action to stop those who seek to make a profit from crime and cause harm to our communities.”

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Across the South East of England, Operation Venetic has seen 45 arrests made, the seizure of £3.1 million in criminal cash and 86 kilos in drugs.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has been working in partnership with every Regional Organised Crime Unit and police force both in the UK and overseas, as part of Operation Venetic which is previously unmatched in scale in the UK.

To ensure success, details of this operation have, until now, been withheld.

UK law enforcement has made a massive breakthrough in the fight against serious and organised crime after the takedown of a bespoke encrypted global communication service used exclusively by criminals.

EncroChat offered a secure mobile phone instant messaging service, but an international law enforcement team cracked the company’s encryption.

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Thousands of handsets have been monitored, millions of messages have been analysed and intelligence gathered across the country and overseas has revealed the illicit activity of people using this system around the world.

This international response has allowed police intervention to mitigate a number of dangers such as threats to life, murder conspiracies and has led to a vast seizure of dangerous firearms and illicit drugs.

SEROCU and the police forces of Hampshire Constabulary, Surrey Police, Sussex Police and Thames Valley Police have managed to punch huge holes in the regional organised crime network.

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Assistant chief constable Pete O’Doherty, South East Regional lead for Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime, said: “This has not only been the biggest operation to take place in the South East but the results are deeply significant as well. Not only with the goods seized but also the disruption this will cause to serious and organised crime groups operating in our communities.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the SEROCU investigators and all the forces and officers from across the South East for their tireless work.

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“These criminals may have felt untouchable, using a system they thought was under the radar of law enforcement, but this technology is now being used against them.

“A committed joint objective by law enforcement across the country will be to continue to keep one step ahead of these criminals.

“There is still work to be done and SEROCU and our partners are dedicated to pursuing those who are involved in serious and organised crime and will continue to disrupt this criminality and bring those found to be involved to justice.”

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