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20 July 2010, 10:55
Officers who carried out a series of anti-drugs raids for Bedfordshire Police this morning have so far found £15,000 in cash as well as three imitation fire arms and a bag of white powder.
The Search and Arrest warrants were carried out at nine properties in Luton in the early hours of this morning.
Thirteen people were arrested during the raids, which took place at Shaftesbury Road, Bishopscote Road, Claremont Road, Beverley Road, Medina Road, Dunstable Road, St Ethelbert Avenue, Highfield Road and Maidenhall Road.
Four raids were also carried out in London with the help of the Metropolitan Police as part of the same operation.
120 officers from across the force were involved in this morning's action, including Luton-based uniform patrol officers, the Dog Section, Neighbourhood Policing Officers and PCSOs. The Beds and Herts Firearms Support Unit also helped at some of the addresses which were searched.
The operation is the enforcement phase of a long-running investigation into an organised crime group which had interests in major drug trafficking and money laundering.
The primary purpose of the operation was to arrest suspects for their involvement in the gang, but officers also found the drugs and cash. Some of the properties are still being searched.
Although the arrests happened in the early hours of this morning, local residents can expect to see the Luton Central Neighbourhood Police team out and about for the rest of the day, with the purpose of keeping the local community informed about what is going on.
“The major operation this morning is the culmination of months of hard work and represents the disruption of a group of criminals who were having a significant negative impact on the local community,” said Supt Jim Lunn, in charge of operations at Luton Police Station.
“Today’s arrests are part of another successful week of action we have been taking against a variety of suspected drug suppliers and related criminals across the county,” said Supt Lunn. “Many of Bedfordshire’s residents will know that we have carried out a number of ‘Drugs Weeks’ in the last 18 months. While we obviously arrest people in drugs warrants all year round, in Drugs Week we make a special effort to concentrate resources on this particular problem.”
Other successes in the last few days have included:
• 26 people arrested across the county for drug and money laundering offences – on top of those brought in this morning.
• A hydraulic drug press confiscated from Hampton Road in Luton, along with 3kg of cutting agent and various other items used for producing, cutting and packing drugs.
• Selection of weapons confiscated from a house in Denbigh Road, Luton including imitation handgun and a spiked knuckleduster
• £51,000 found under a bed along with cannabis at a house in Kelling Close, Luton
• Small cannabis factory and 500-1000 mixed pills including Ecstasy found in a house in Dudley Street, Leighton Buzzard
• Cannabis plants to the value of £200,000 found at a house in Kempston
• £1440 cash, stolen satnav and laptop recovered from Clapham.
• Cocaine worth £1000 seized from a house in Millwright Way, Flitwick
• 38 cannabis deals and £300 from a house in Winchester Way Sandy
Drugs week was also a good opportunity for Luton officers to join up with colleagues from British Transport Police to target those carrying drugs on the railway into the town. Seven officers from BTP, along with their passive drugs dog Bella, carried out an afternoon/evening operation on Friday (July 16) with seven officers from Luton.
Bella and the combined team arrested 3 people either on the railway station or nearby as the operation extended into the town centre. Two were carrying Class A drugs, one was arrested for a public order offence and five further people were cautioned for carrying small amounts of cannabis.
Lead officer from BTP, Sergeant Ben Roberts, said: “The aim of an operation such as this is to send a strong message that if you intend to carry illegal substances on the railway there is a good chance you will be stopped on your way through the station. Both forces will continue to work together on joint operations to ensure that members of the public have the right to travel in safety and we will do all we can to ensure they are able to.”
Anyone with information about those involved in drug dealing, supplying or money laundering can contact their local policing team or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.