An industrial-scale laboratory producing large quantities of amphetamine has been uncovered as part of a National Crime Agency Operation Venetic investigation.
Today (27 April) NCA investigators, supported by officers from Warwickshire Police, raided the lab housed in farm buildings on Ullenhall Lane, near Redditch.
Members of the organised crime group believed to be running the drugs operation using the encrypted phone network EncroChat – two men aged 40 and 60 – were arrested in Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire.
A third man, aged 50, from Quinton, Birmingham – suspected of operating the lab – was apprehended at his home address.
Two other individuals – a man aged 36 and a woman aged 28 – were arrested at a building on the site.
All five are still in custody being interviewed.
The NCA believes the crime group were producing around one tonne of amphetamine per month – worth £2million at wholesale and up to £10million at street level – for distribution to criminals throughout the country.
NCA Branch Commander Peter Stevens said: “This illicit drugs lab was producing extremely large amounts of amphetamine for distribution to crime groups across the UK and into our communities, bringing with it violence, fear, and exploitation.
“The operation, which required a huge amount of planning to ensure it was conducted safely, will have had a huge impact on the organised crime groups involved, depriving them of commodity and profit.
“This work also shows the value and power of working with law enforcement agencies, including Warwickshire Police who have provided specialist resources, to take down high-harm criminals.”
ACC Alex Franklin Smith from Warwickshire Police said: “The illegal drug trade causes great harm to communities across Warwickshire and the rest of the country. We have worked closely with our colleagues in the NCA to support this operation with significant and specialist resources and are confident that the impact it will have on the organised criminal gangs involved will be huge.
“We are absolutely committed to tackling the drugs trade and protecting the people of Warwickshire from all the harms it brings. This operation once again sends out the message that this offending will not be tolerated in our county.
“Such an operation taking place in such a quiet, rural location will no doubt have caused some concerns for people in the area. Our officers will be working with people in the local community in the coming days to provide reassurance.”
Searches of the farm buildings are ongoing, with support from specialist teams from West Midlands Police, West Midlands Fire Service and the West Midlands Ambulance Service.
27 April 2021