Police chief calls rally after drug raids in Highlands
Drugs and cash were seized from locations in the Highlands as part of a week-long activity across the UK targeting organized crime gangs who use vulnerable people – including teenagers – to transport and sell their illegal goods.
And the success has sparked a new call from one of the area’s top sleuths to put the public on their eyes and ears as he strives to tackle the scourge of so-called County Line dealers.
Police dog handlers have visited post offices in the area to intercept drugs in the mail, and officers armed with search warrants have investigated several properties.
In the Highlands and Islands, £ 20,000 in cash and almost £ 500 in counterfeit banknotes were seized as officers recovered crack, heroin and cocaine and over 2kg of cannabis.
In Inverness, nearly £ 1,000 in cash, mobile devices, £ 2,500 of heroin and £ 1,800 of crack cocaine were confiscated following a search of property in Balloan Road.
Elsewhere, a package containing high purity cocaine with a market value of over £ 25,000 was intercepted at a post office and a subsequent search of property in Simpson Place in Dingwall resulted in the recovery of cannabis valued at around £ 40,000. A 32-year-old man has been arrested and investigations are ongoing.
Councilors were told ahead of a meeting yesterday that five county drug gangs, based primarily in Liverpool, London and Derby, are operating in the Inverness area.
However, the police are redoubling their efforts by doubling the size of the Inverness-based police team to tackle county gangs to 10, working under the direction of a Detective Sgt.
As well as forging links with specialist units in Scotland and England to share information and coordinate activities, he also works with other partners such as housing, social work, the NHS and charities in the goal of stopping the drug supply and exploitation. vulnerable people and children – some as young as 15 years old.
Chief Detective Inspector Mark Czerniakiewicz of the Highlands and Islands CID was pleased with the results of the week-long operation and issued an appeal to the public as the team continued their work.
“There are drugs here,” he said.
“We are actively doing something about it and continually need the public’s help to monitor and inform us of anything they know of that may be relevant to this drug supply.”
These could be cars visiting a property at odd times of the day or night, for example, or new people coming and going from neighboring properties.
“We want to use as many tools as possible to prevent these drugs from getting onto the streets,” Detective Inspector Czerniakiewicz said.
“We have a great partnership with a lot of people.
“Everyone is going in the same direction. It is very good and very positive.
“If you can imagine yourself as a police service, we can’t do it all alone.
“This is why we are talking to partners in housing, social work and the Post.
“It’s about getting that common approach to really protect these vulnerable adults and vulnerable children.”
He said the ‘cuckoo’ element was particularly distasteful with dealers taking over the homes of vulnerable people – adults and children.
He continued: “What we have found over the last few months are children from this area from other parts of Scotland and England.
“These are children who ended up in Inverness after driving around, were told they were going to Glasgow and ended up in Inverness, being forced to distribute drugs.
Related story: Five gangs bringing drugs to Inverness