Hundreds Charged After Vast UK Cannabis Operation

Operation Mille saw searches and arrests carried out across England and Wales "at a scale and pace not seen before", police said.


This file photo taken on August 18, 2022 shows marijuana plants inside a grow room at a cannabis club in Montevideo, Uruguay. (Photo by Eitan ABRAMOVICH / AFP)

 

More than 450 people were charged and cannabis plants worth more than £115 million seized in a massive month-long drugs operation in June, British police said Friday.

Operation Mille saw searches and arrests carried out across England and Wales “at a scale and pace not seen before”, police said.

“Nearly 200,000 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of between £115-£130 million ($147 million-$166 million, 135 million-152 million euros) were seized,” police said.

Around 1,000 people were arrested and of those “more than 450 were later charged”.

Cannabis production is a cash cow for organised crime, investigators say, fuelling gang violence as groups compete for territory.

“Organised networks involved in cannabis production are also directly linked to an array of other serious criminality such as class A drug importation, modern slavery and wider violence and exploitation,” said Steve Jupp, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for serious organised crime.

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“This operation not only successfully disrupted a significant amount of criminal activity, but the intelligence gathered will also help inform future law enforcement activity across the country.”

Officers also seized 20 firearms and 26 kilos of cocaine with a potential street value of £1 million.

Crimes linked to gangland feuds have shocked the nation in recent years.

In April a gunman was jailed for more than 40 years for a shooting that claimed the life of a nine-year-old girl in Liverpool in northwest England.

Olivia Pratt-Korbel was fatally shot in the chest as she sheltered behind her mother as a man fleeing “high-level” cannabis dealer Thomas Cashman tried to force his way into her home in August 2022.

In another shocking gangland shooting near Liverpool in December 2022, a 24-year-old woman was killed in crossfire in a pub.

Gunman Connor Chapman fired 12 shots intended for underworld rivals into a group of people but killed beautician Elle Edwards as she enjoyed a night out. He is due to be sentenced later Friday.

AFP