On Friday (27 July) UK’s West Mercia Police executed four warrants in Redditch, north-east Worcestershire, after intelligence was passed on to officers regarding an illegal drug facility in the town.
As a result of the raids, a methamphetamine laboratory was discovered, along with a quantity of illegal drugs.
Two men from Slovakia, a 37-year-old and a 26-year-old, and a 30-year-old woman from the Czech Republic have all been released under investigation.
Another 37-year-old Slovakian male has been released on police bail.
The local fire and rescue services assisted the police in making the area safe due to concerns over the chemicals found and the risk of contamination.
Officers from Europol supported the West Mercia Police with an Mobile Office on the spot and undertook real-time cross-checks of data collected during the investigation against Europol’s databases.
Furthermore, Europol also gave specialist laboratory dismantling support and prepared a detailed technical report concerning the chemicals and equipment seized, also indicating the processes likely to have occurred at the premises.
Methamphetamine is an addictive and powerful stimulant drug that is similar to amphetamine as is often referred to as ‘meth’.
Its affects are similar to those associated with cocaine use and its relatively easy to make, given necessary chemicals being available.
Methamphetamine is scheduled a Class ‘A’ drug in the UK, given the severity of its threat to public health.
There are serious toxicity risks for those involved in the production of the drug not only from risk of exposure to chemicals involved in the process, but also from risk of fire and explosion, hence the need for highly specialist support once manufacturing sites are discovered.
Europol has long experience in providing such support services to EU law enforcement as illegal drug production laboratories are increasingly common in many countries, often operating on an industrial size scale.
In 2010 the European Union set up a four-year Policy Cycle to ensure greater continuity in the fight against serious international and organised crime. In 2017 the Council of the EU decided to continue the EU Policy Cycle for the 2018 - 2021 period. It aims to tackle the most significant threats posed by organised and serious international crime to the EU. This is achieved by improving and strengthening cooperation between the relevant services of EU Member States, institutions and agencies, as well as non-EU countries and organisations, including the private sector where relevant. Drug Trafficking is one of the priorities for the Policy Cycle.