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Seven arrested after early morning raids in Havering, Redbridge, and Grays

Cash that was seized by police officers

Police have arrested seven people following early morning raids in Havering, Redbridge, and Grays. 

Specialist officers have been working with the National Crime Agency to investigate individuals who use encrypted devices to distribute drugs by sending messages and images which cannot be detected by the authorities. 

The investigation is related to EncroChat, a company which provides encrypted communications and a secure mobile phone instant messaging service. In June, an international law enforcement team managed to crack the company’s encryption.

This helped police identify and locate a suspected EncroChat user.

Officers arrested a 52-year-old man believed to be involved in an organised crime group which supplied drugs to east London and Essex between April and September 2020.

He was detained yesterday and remains in custody. 

During the arrest, police seized a knife that is also suspected to be a stun gun.

Police seized a knife that is also suspected to be a stun gun

Officers searched several other properties believed to be linked to the group this morning. 

They arrested a 40-year-old man on suspicion of possession of criminal property at an address in Havering where more than £100,000 in cash was also seized. 

Police also raided three properties in Ilford. At the first address, they detained a man, 46, on suspicion of conspiracy to supply controlled drugs and found a firearm.

At the second property, they recovered £6,500 in cash and arrested a woman, 48, on suspicion of possession of criminal property. A 45-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possession of drugs with intent to supply at the final address. 

In Grays, two 18-year-old men were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply controlled drugs while a 23-year-old was arrested on suspicion of cultivation of cannabis. 

Officers also discovered a cannabis factory in Clacton-on-Sea although there were no occupants inside. 

“The action taken today demonstrates the Met’s continued fight to tackle serious and organised crime,” said Detective Inspector Niall McSheffrey. “The extent of this organised crime group’s criminality is clear from the messages and images on the encrypted devices. I hope today’s activity sends a clear message to criminals that they have nowhere to hide.

“The National Crime Agency played a key role combatting encrypted communications through Operation Venetic and due to extensive and thorough investigations a number of EncroChat users have been found.”

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

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