St Helens man among eight arrested in connection with industrial scale drug production plot
Members of a suspected criminal group accused of trafficking heroin and producing amphetamine worth millions of pounds have been arrested as part of an investigation linked to Operation Venetic.
National Crime Agency officers arrested six of the group at addresses across Merseyside - including a 46-year-old man from St Helens - supported by Merseyside Police, a seventh in Glasgow assisted by Police Scotland and the eighth was produced from prison.
The St Helens man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to produce a Class B drug (Amphetamine) and conspiracy to supply a Class A drug (heroin)
Analysis of messages acquired as part of Operation Venetic – an investigation into the encrypted messaging platform EncroChat – supported the investigation.
Officers believe they were planning to produce large quantities of amphetamine at a location in Scotland, as well as trafficking heroin from Scotland to Merseyside. The group remain in custody.
On December 4, 2020, as part of the same investigation, more than 620kg of APAA - a substance used in the manufacture of amphetamine - was seized and two men arrested after arriving on a flight from Turkey. Both were later released under investigation.
Ian McConnell, NCA Operations Manager, said: “Producing amphetamine on an industrial scale would have devastating consequences for the community - drug trafficking thrives on inciting violence, spreading fear and exploiting vulnerable children and adults for criminal gain.
“Today’s action has led to the arrest of eight suspected members of an organised crime group and will continue to target those at the top of the drug market chain, to make their businesses unviable and keep people safe.”