Around 100 officers from the National Crime Agency have today (Wednesday 3 March) been involved in a UK-wide operation targeting suspected members of a Western Balkan organised crime group.   20 people were arrested this morning at addresses in Birmingham, Reading, Blackburn, Sunderland and London as part of an eight-month long investigation led by Thames Valley Police into the supply of drugs, fraud, money laundering and modern slavery offences.   One of the suspected heads of the group – a 36-year old man – was arrested by NCA officers at an address on Pershore Road in Birmingham on suspicion of conspiracy to produce and supply class B drugs.   The NCA also led raids on locations in the north west, north east and London. Two arrests were made by NCA officers in Sunderland, where two working cannabis factories were found.   A further cannabis factory was discovered at an address in Southgate, North London, where two Albanian nationals were arrested, and another arrest was also made at a location in Blackburn, where investigators found a premises they think had previously been used for cannabis production.   Specialist NCA officers - including dog handlers and forensic officers – have worked alongside colleagues from the South Eastern Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) and Thames Valley Police as part of the investigation.   Deputy Director Andrea Wilson from the NCA said:   “Today’s activity highlights just how seriously we are taking the threat from Western Balkan organised crime groups. They are involved in various forms of serious and organised criminality, including the trafficking and supply of class A drugs, organised immigration crime and corruption.   “Identifying and targeting these high harm networks requires a whole-system law enforcement approach, and anyone involved in widespread organised crime should take notice that the NCA and partners will do all we can to disrupt their activity and ensure they face justice”.   Detective Inspector Natalie Hall, of the Thames Valley Police Serious Organised Crime Unit, said:   “Thames Valley Police officers have been supported by the NCA, SEROCU and the Home Office this morning in order to carry out these warrants.   “This partnership working is vital in identifying and disrupting the most harmful individuals and organised crime groups in order to protect our communities.   “Investigating this type of criminality can be complex and time-consuming and this particular operation has been a culmination of months of hard work by officers. Therefore, I am pleased that we have been able to carry out these warrants and make a number of arrests.   “Further, I hope that this serves as a warning to those in the community who are involved in the supply and distribution of drugs as well as the exploitation of people, that we know who you are, where you are and we are committed to bringing you to justice.   “If anyone has any information or suspicions about drug supply in their area, please make a report to Thames Valley Police by calling 101 or online.   “Alternatively, if you would prefer to remain anonymous you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online too.”

Around 100 officers from the National Crime Agency have today (Wednesday 3 March) been involved in a UK-wide operation targeting suspected members of a Western Balkan organised crime group.

drug packages laid out on the floor

Two corrupt lorry drivers have been jailed for a combined 31 years after being found guilty of trying to smuggle class A drugs into the UK.

Image of gun

A man and woman have been arrested after two guns and rounds of ammunition were found at a house in Essex.

Dylan Broderick pictured with seized items

A criminal boss who used encrypted phone network EncroChat to run his drugs operation has been jailed for seven years and four months.

NCA logo on back of two jackets

An Italian national who attempted to extort £10 million from the NHS by threatening to bomb a hospital in the UK has been convicted by a Berlin court.

Two men face a combined 36 years in prison after a National Crime Agency investigation found they were behind an attempt to smuggle cocaine worth £32million into the UK.

drugs in cardboard box

A lorry driver has been jailed for five years after attempting to smuggle two kilos of cocaine into the UK.

Image showing the seizure of 1.5 tonnes of heroin.

An operation involving the National Crime Agency has resulted in the one of the largest ever seizures of heroin in the Europe, denying millions of pounds of profits to organised crime groups.

Packages of drugs laid out

Two men arrested as part of a National Crime Agency investigation into the seizure of 20 kilos of cocaine in Belfast on Monday have been charged.

Man being walked out of a building in handcuffs

A man who is suspected of money laundering and handling payments relating to people smuggling has been arrested as part of a National Crime Agency investigation.

Offender custody photo

A child sex offender who groomed an 11-year-old girl by pretending to be a 15-year-old boy online has been jailed for three years.

NCA and police jackets

A 33-year-old man from Warrington suspected of being the head of a crime group supplying firearms and drugs has been extradited to the UK from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Mugshot of two offenders

Two lorry drivers have been jailed for a combined 27 years following a National Crime Agency investigation into the seizure of 32 kilos of heroin at Harwich port.

Cocaine packages hidden inside boxes of bananas

Ten people have been arrested in North London in relation to the seizure of approximately 2.3 tonnes of cocaine imported to the UK in a consignment of bananas.

Image showing the NCA logo

The NCA has released its latest list of restrictions imposed upon serious organised criminals, supporting the management of serious offenders. It includes Serious Crime Prevention Orders, Financial Reporting Orders and Travel Restriction Orders.

Packages of seized class A drugs at East Midlands Airport

A man and woman have been arrested as part of a National Crime Agency investigation into the attempted importation of 11 kilos of class A drugs through East Midlands Airport.