Operation launched to strike drug rings during lockdown

A new drugs gang has been launched by police to disrupt narcotics networks across the West Midlands.

This viable antique pistol and ammo was seized from an address in Coventry
This viable antique pistol and ammo was seized from an address in Coventry

The lockdown has seen a drop in non-coronavirus related calls coming into the force and significant reductions in crimes like robbery, burglary and violence.

So West Midlands Police are utilising officers from specialist departments like roads policing, operations and Force CID alongside neighbourhood police task forces to support a campaign targeting drug supply chains.

The operation has already led to arrests and seizures of drugs, cash and weapons.

A 44-year-old man was arrested in Dudley last Saturday morning when a warrant was executed by officers and cannabis was seized.

Meanwhile a raid at a builder’s merchants in Birmingham suspected to be linked to a large-scale cannabis ring took place.

A 50-year-old man – who police say had tried flushing a stash of drugs down the toilet – was arrested from an adjacent flat and a search of the premises uncovered several kilos of cannabis.

Both were arrested on suspicion of possessing drugs with intent to supply and have been released under investigation to allow detectives more time to gather evidence.

And yesterday morning officers raided an address in Swan Lane, Coventry, where two sawn-off shotguns and a viable antique revolver were seized. They are being sent for ballistics analysis to see if they can be linked to any shootings.

Officers also recovered around £25,000 in cash and a significant quantity of what is believed to be Class A drugs.

Three men were arrested. A 40-year-old has been charged with possessing banned firearms, while men aged 20 and 31 were bailed pending further enquiries.

Chief Superintendent Mark Payne promised his officers would keep up the pressure on the ringleaders.

He added: “The restrictions imposed on the public to control Covid-19 has made it more difficult for people running networks to move drugs or to recruit street-level dealers to do the dirty work on their behalf.

“Criminals who might ordinarily rely on others to commit crime on their behalf are now having to do it themselves…and this presents us with opportunities.

“We’re bringing in resources from a variety of teams across West Midlands Police to support our efforts to target people who are causing real harm in our communities.

“These raids are just the start…I expect us to make significant progress over the next few weeks.”

Police urge anyone who has suspicions about drug dealing to contact them via Live Chat on the website or anonymously through the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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