A staggering £3.8million worth of mephedrone was discovered by police in raids across Greater Manchester homes yesterday in the largest UK operation of its kind.
Officers with the North West Regional Organised Regional Crime Unit (Titan) raided 11 addresses and arrested 12 people who are part of a suspected organised crime group for drug and money laundering offences.
Police are investigating the sale of 313kg of mephedrone through an online website called www.wide-mouth-frogs.com, which was run from a unit in Bolton.
Warrants were executed across the Bolton, Bury, north Manchester and Salford areas and a number of properties will also be searched today.
Detective Superintendent Jason Hudson from Titan, said: “These strikes have taken months of planning and the operation reinforces our commitment to dismantle organised crime groups and tackle illegal drugs across our region.”
The suspects remain in police custody, with a 48-year-old man arrested on suspicion of the cultivation of cannabis and two men aged 29 and 30 arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply.
“This operation is the largest of its kind in the UK since mephedrone and related substances were made illegal in 2010,” Detective Supt Hudson added.
“Our priority is to disrupt and prevent the supply of drugs and let this be a reminder to anyone involved in the supply, that they will not only end up behind bars, but through the Proceeds of Crime Act legislation, they will also end up out of pocket.”
Chief Superintendent David Hull from Bolton division, said cracking down on drugs was a big priority for GMP.
“Drugs wreck lives and the crime associated with them causes misery to the whole community – so we do everything possible to find out who is responsible and put them before the courts,” he said.
The party drug mephedrone – also known as meow meow or m-kat – was legal to buy but not to consume as a drug until 2010.
It is now illegal to supply, or to be in possession of mephedrone under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
Information can be passed on to the police directly though the non-emergency number, 101, or contacting the Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.