Three men have been arrested and a warehouse raided in connection with an alleged conspiracy to import cocaine into the U.K. in food deliveries from the Netherlands.
Officers from the Organised Crime Partnership (OCP) – a joint NCA and Metropolitan Police Service unit – arrested the men in coordinated raids in Glasgow, London and Kent.
The investigation was launched after officers analyzed messages shared on EncroChat – the encrypted messaging platform that was brought down in June as part of Operation Venetic.
Thomas Payne, aged 47, from Hayes Road, Bromley, Kent; Mohammed Khan, aged 30, from Glenbervie Place, Newton Mearns, Glasgow; and Ciaran Jones, aged 32, from Burns Road, Harlesden, London, were arrested in dawn raids on November 4.
At the same time the Dutch authorities raided a food warehouse in Reusel – a town near the Belgium border – which officers believe was going to be used to facilitate the smuggling of drugs. The men were charged with conspiracy to import class A drugs.
Payne, Jones and Khan have been remanded in custody after initial court appearances.
OCP Operations Manager Matt McMillan said: “Following the analysis of EncroChat messages as part of Operation Venetic, we believe we have disrupted a criminal operation to import vast quantities of drugs into the U.K.”