We have arrested two men and seized suspected drugs and a quantity of cash today (Wednesday 16 March) as part of an ongoing investigation into drugs supply.
The arrests form part of the Merseyside Police response to Operation Venetic, a national investigation into the use of encrypted mobile devices, commonly referred to as Encrochat.
Officers executed a warrant at an address on Rydal Road, Prescot and, on searching the property, found a quantity of suspected amphetamines and cash.
A 30-year-old man from Prescot was arrested on suspicion of money laundering, conspiracy to commit section 18 assault and conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs.
Police also arrested a 42-year-old man on Houlgrave Road, Kirkdale on suspicion of conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs and possession of an S5 firearm.
Both men have been taken into custody and will be questioned by police.
More than 80 people have been arrested in Merseyside so far as a result Operation Venetic, which has involved European law enforcement agencies working with the NCA and supported across the UK by police forces and Regional Organised Crime Units.
The operation came about after law enforcement officials in Europe managed to crack the ‘encrochat’ service being used by criminals involved in serious and organised crime to carry out their business.
Around 60,000 users of encrochat have been identified worldwide, with about 10,000 of them in the UK – all involved in coordinating and planning the supply and distribution of drugs and weapons, money laundering and other criminal activity.
Detective Inspector Christopher Lowe said: “The arrests today show just how seriously police and the courts take those organised criminals who supply drugs across Merseyside and beyond.
“Any criminal who plays their part in an illicit trade that exploits vulnerable people and brings violence to the heart of our communities should not sleep easy.
“They may believe they are beyond the law, but we have officers working round-the-clock on the streets and behind the scenes to gather intelligence and evidence that will inevitably lead to them being given a rude awakening, and put before the courts.
“Working with other forces, the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit and the National Crime Agency, we will continue to identify opportunities to take enforcement action such as this to safeguard our communities and mitigate any risk of serious violence.
“I can reassure the communities of Merseyside that the force will continue its fight against those involved in serious organised crime to make our communities safer.”
If you have any information about suspected drug dealing in your area, please contact @MerPolCC, 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Always call 999 if a crime is in progress.