Shropshire Star

Police make 20 arrests in operation to bust suspected drugs gang

A total of 20 arrests have been made in an operation targeting drug suppliers in a suspected local organised crime group.

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A total of 20 arrests were made as part of the operation

Operation Lardy saw officers from North Wales Police, supported by the dogs unit, drones, National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) execute a number of warrants in Cefn Mawr, Chirk, and the surrounding area, as part of a six-month covert investigation into a suspected Class A and Class B drugs conspiracy.

More than 100 officers were involved in the operation over three days, from Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

The force said that more than 20 properties were targeted, including a canal barge, in areas including Cefn Mawr, Rhos, Acrefair, Chirk, Plas Madoc, Southsea, Penycae, Ruabon, Deeside, and Manchester, where quantities of drugs, cash, weapons, and mobile phones were seized.

In total, 20 people have been arrested, including three at Manchester Airport, on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A, Class B, and money laundering.

Fifteen people have since been charged and have appeared in court this week.

The others remain in police custody, where they are being questioned by detectives.

Superintendent Jon Bowcott said: “This week’s targeted work to dismantle a suspected organised crime group comes as part of Operation Lardy and follows an extensive investigation into drug supply in the Cefn Mawr area.

“It is one of the largest operations North Wales Police has ever carried out in the area.

“We have seen a significant number of arrests and seizures as a result of this week’s activity, which highlights to the public our absolute determination to rid our communities of drug crime.

“Drug supply leads to criminal activity, especially serious and violent crime, which causes misery and fear in our communities. Every single successful police operation makes our streets safer and dismantling organised crime gangs operating in North Wales and removing drugs from our streets will continue to be a priority for our force.

“Information from the public is also a vital part in identifying these individuals and putting them before the courts, and we cannot do this without the assistance of our communities. If you have information on the supply of drugs in your area, please get in touch so we can take action.”

Following Operation Lardy, the force said that a "positive action operation" will follow in the Cefn Mawr area from Monday, September 25.

Called 'Operation Vardo', the a multi-agency approach will see officers and partners out in the Cefn Mawr and surrounding areas to speak to local residents.

A spokesman for the force said: "Officers will be carrying out targeted visible activity and increased patrols, as well as covert policing tactics to hold the location, in order to prevent further organised crime groups taking control in the vacuum.

"They will also be working with residents and partners to build the community into an area where people feel safe to live, work and visit, and an area less susceptible to being exploited by organised crime groups."

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