More than 60 kilos of cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin with a street value of an estimated £6million and £2.5million in cash has been seized in police raids across southern Wales.
Officers from Gwent Police contributed to the massive breakthrough by UK law enforcement agencies where they took down a bespoke encrypted global communication service used exclusively by criminals.
Over the past two months Tarian, the Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) for southern Wales, has been working with partners including Gwent, South Wales and Dyfed Powys police forces and the National Crime Agency to identify and target organised crime groups and individual drug dealers across the region.
Detective inspector Michelle Chaplin said: “Four men – three from the Caerphilly area aged 43, 37, 35 and a 28-year-old man from Cwmbran – were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply a controlled substance – class A. They have now been charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
“Gwent Police officers contributed to this huge, top-secret national operation by executing warrants in the Caerphilly and Torfaen areas.
“More than 75 officers were involved in the planned action against this organised crime group. During the searches drugs, cash, cars and jewellery were all seized, alongside encrypted mobile phones.
“All items seized are currently being analysed as part of this collaborative UK-wide investigation.”
Dave Thorne, South Wales Police’s assistant chief constable who is responsible for Tarian ROCU, said: “Operation Venetic has seen huge successes throughout the UK, with over two tonnes of drugs and millions of pounds in cash recovered, and hundreds of people arrested, charged and remanded in custody so far.
“Locally, Tarian, working closely with the three southern Welsh police forces, has executed 38 warrants and 16 people have been arrested, charged and remanded in custody so far, a number of others are also being investigated
“Officers have seized 60 kgs of cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin with an estimated street value of £6million.
“In addition more than £2.5million in cash has also been seized.
“Illegal drugs have no place in our society and we will continue to work together to target those whose criminal activities blight the lives of the communities of southern Wales.
“We are committed to disrupting and dismantling organised crime groups, bringing people before the courts and removing drugs from our streets.”
Anyone who has information about the supply of drugs in the community should call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111. In an emergency call 999.