Police arrest 12 people in Wigan in operation Flood to tackle drug trafficking

Police working as part of an enhanced operation to tackle drug trafficking in Greater Manchester made a successful arrest last week.

Plain-clothed officers working with Merseyside Police were in Wigan to target identified checkpoints which are most commonly used across county lines between the two regions.

The intelligence-led initiative – codenamed Operation Flood – was launched by the Greater Manchester Police’s (GMP) Organised Crime Co-ordinate Unit (OCCU) in January 2021 supported by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. 

During Monday night, police conducted 33 stop searches, 14 of which were positive leading to 12 arrests, eight seized vehicles and recovered a multitude of class A, B and C drugs including significant amount of suspected cocaine and cannabis. 

Operation Flood is dedicated to targeting groups involved in drug trafficking across county lines, comprising of a series of action days with proactive policing using covert and overt tactics.

Detective Chief Inspector from the GMP’s OCCU, Chris Mossop said: “Op Flood is an enhanced proactive operation dedicated to tackling and disrupting count lines networks operating in and out of Greater Manchester that continue to control illegal drugs and exploit vulnerable people for illicit gains.

“The initiative is taking place across the Force-area and is an intelligence-led approach that sees focused resources deployed in line with evidence we have an continue to collect, through our own work and information from the public.

She added: “Specialists resources are being utilised to relentlessly pursue individuals with a view to arrest suspects, remove controlled drugs from the streets, tackle illicit finances, investigate upstream supply, and identify any avenues to disrupt those involved in the recruitment of vulnerable individuals who are coerced into such activity.

“We have seen in our day of action in Wigan the results of working on the front foot with neighbouring forces to target and surge disruption activity on lines operating in and out of Greater Manchester. This will continue right across our patch in the weeks to come.

Since the start of the operation, officers from the GMP conducted 31 stop searches, made 11 arrests, seized 17 vehicles and recovered over six kilograms of class A drugs and a handgun.

Resources are being utilised across 12 districts to focus on disrupting suspicious activity and the supply and distribution of drugs in Greater Manchester and the North West.

Prior to the launch of Operation Flood on January 17, over 200 drug lines were estimated to be operating from Greater Manchester between groups within the county and to every region in the UK.

Since the operation was launched, a further 11 lines that involve the exploitation of vulnerable people have been identified and over 60 new intelligence logs have been made which can be used to assist other ongoing operations within the GMP.

Police continue to seek further intelligence and information from the public so they can act on known routes for drug trafficking, and work with the local authorities to protect vulnerable people.

DCI Mossop added: “As is always the case with such complex criminality we work closely with partners in local authorities to ensure appropriate safeguarding measures are taken where necessary and the policing element of this operation is a crucial elementary tool to gather intelligence.

“I hope the public feel encouraged by the activity they are seeing and have the confidence to contact police or Crimestoppers with information of any suspicious activity or individuals they worry are concerned in county lines exploitation.”

If you have any information on these activities by calling 101 or by anonymously contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Always call 999 in an emergency.

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