Police targeting Hampshire organised crime arrest six people in raids in Portsmouth, Hayling Island, Cowplain, Horndean and Bedhampton
ORGANISED crime police have arrested six people following raids in Portsmouth, Hayling Island and surrounding areas.
All six, a woman and five men, were held on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of class A and B drugs, and money laundering.
The raids this morning come a year after law enforcement Europe-wide secured evidence from the takedown of the encrypted communications platform Encrochat.
Senior officers last year in July said 746 people were arrested under Operation Venetic, with detectives using the data obtained from Encrochat.
A bid to stop prosecutors using the evidence was lost following a Court of Appeal ruling.
Now the South Eastern Organised Crime Unit has revealed it carried out raids at six properties today.
These were in Tankerton Close in Wymering, Portsmouth; Chichester Avenue in Hayling Island; Hedge End Walk in West Leigh; James Road in Bedhampton; Victory Avenue in Horndean and Beaulieu Court in Crombie Close in Cowplain.
The woman, 24, and the five men – 22, 23, 27, 28, and 34 – are still in custody this afternoon.
Detective Inspector Clair Trueman from Serocu said: ‘The arrests today were part of the ongoing investigation into the supply of drugs within the South East region.
‘Since Spring 2020, law enforcement has significantly disrupted and dismantled numerous crime groups across the UK. This is the broadest and deepest UK operation into serious and organised crime to date, and co-ordinated activity continues.
‘The operation was as a result of the takedown of encrypted communications platform EncroChat leading to a massive breakthrough in the fight against serious and organised crime.
‘The arrests show that our activities continue and we will seek opportunities to disrupt organised crime groups operating within the South East region.’
Encrochat was used by British gangsters to order hits on rivals, and its cracking led to the seizure of firearms, cash and drugs.
A Serocu statement added ‘This operation is linked to Operation Venetic with Serocu and the south east police forces continuing to work in partnership with the National Crime Agency (NCA) and other law enforcement agencies; both in the UK and overseas.’