Three arrested in raid on St Helier drugs den

THREE men have been arrested and thousands of pounds of potentially deadly so-called legal highs seized after undercover officers raided a suspected

Three arrested in raid on St Helier drugs den

St Helier drugs den.

Following a ten-week surveillance operation, eight plain clothes officers stormed the property in a morning raid as part of the force's crackdown on the substances, which have already claimed the lives of at least two young Islanders.

Two men were arrested on site and another was detained nearby after officers uncovered a package of what they described as 'potentially lethal' powder with a street value that could be in excess of £20,000 inside the house.

Officers also found two cannabis plants in a second-floor room grown in a sophisticated 'hydroponic' set up.

The arrests follow two and a half months of police and Customs intelligence work that is part of a wider force investigation codenamed Operation Easel.

The operation, which has been running since late last year, aims to crack down on the importation and dealing of so-called legal highs, known formally as new psychoactive substances.

Acting Detective Chief Inspector Mark Hafey, who was in command of the raid, today warned that dealers who sell drugs in Jersey will be tracked down and brought to justice.

'If people want to take the risk and deal drugs in this Island we are going to find them, come through their door and change their lives forever,' he said.

He added that new psychoactive substances were arriving in the Island on a 'daily basis' – often in smaller quantities – and posed a serious risk to the Island's health, especially among teenagers.

The raid was launched after the force received a tip-off that drugs were due to arrive at the house through the post.

However, the police, working closely with their colleagues at Customs, had already intercepted the drugs and replaced them with a dummy parcel.

They pounced on the suspected dealers when the package arrived and burst into the building through an unlocked front door.

DCI Mark Hafey: 'If people want to deal drugs in this Island we are going to find them'

Uniformed officers arrived shortly after to take the men to police headquarters in separate vehicles.

Acting Det Chief Insp Hafey said the force would now turn their attentions to tracking the source of the drug and were in contact with Northumbria police as they believe the package was sent from the north of England.

The detective, who has a responsibility for the States police Criminal Investigation Department and Proactive Crime Team, said this bust should act as a message to dealers in the Island and abroad that Jersey is not an easy target for them to make large quantities of money quickly.

'Jersey has got significantly higher drug prices than anywhere in Europe. Importers of controlled drugs know that for what people pay in the major cities like London, Liverpool and Glasgow they can get that commodity to Jersey and make significantly more profit,' he said.

'The NPS area is so complex and fast-moving it has without doubt led to a shift in drug culture across the board. NPS carry dangers on a par with class-A drugs like heroin and crack-cocaine and some people would say they are worse.'

The raid is an example of the police's emphasis on intelligence-led policing, according to acting Det Chief Insp Hafey who declined to confirm where the information for this operation had come from.

'What I will say is this was good-grade intelligence that enabled us to act on it. The police grade intelligence and as a result of the grading given it was proportionate, lawful and necessary to take the action that we did,' he said.

'In this case the guys on the ground do not know if it's from an informant or if it's come from the media, members of the community, other law enforcement, Crimestoppers or the honorary police.'

In May the JEP revealed that intelligence that police had gathered from informants – otherwise known as covert human intelligence sources – had helped officers make over 400 arrests and seize £1.4 million of drugs and other criminal property over the past seven years.

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