Police launch mephedrone raids across Great Manchester

 

Police have raided a suspected crime gang in the biggest operation to date to tackle dealing of party drug mephedrone.

Officers arrested 12 people being investigated over the sale of £3.8 million worth of the drug through an online website, run from an industrial unit in Bolton, Greater Manchester.

Four men and five woman aged between 21 and 62 have been arrested on suspicion of the supply of controlled drugs and money laundering.

One man aged 48 has been arrested on suspicion of the cultivation of cannabis and two men aged 29 and 30 have been arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply.

They all remain in police custody after the raids yesterday at 11 addresses in Bolton, Bury, north Manchester and Salford.

Officers are investigating the sale of approximately 313 kilograms of mephedrone, with the street value of £3.8 million, through the website www.wide-mouth-frogs.com.

Meow meow or Mkat is the common name for mephedrone, which until 2010 was legal to buy but not to consume as a drug.

It was made an offence to supply, or to be in possession of mephedrone, after use of the drug became increasingly widespread amongst clubbers.

Mephedrone has been linked to a number of deaths and it appears to be used as an ingredient for "legal highs" still on sale.

Detective superintendent Jason Hudson from Titan, the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit, 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.

"This operation is the largest of its kind in the UK since mephedrone and related substances were made illegal in 2010."

Chief superintendent David Hull from Greater Manchester Police, added: "Cracking down on drugs in our communities is a big priority for GMP and I hope today's operation shows communities we are committed to this.

"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."

Colin Tyrie, senior public health development adviser (substance misuse), for Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust, said: "Mephedrone, along with some of the other new synthetic drugs, appears to be overtaking cocaine and ecstasy as the 'club-drugs' or 'white powder' drugs often referred to as bubble, magic, M-cat amongst numerous other names for what are often blends of synthetic compounds produced to mimic illegal drugs like cocaine and ecstasy.

"Most users will snort these drugs or swallow them in capsules and they will often be mixed with alcohol or other drugs.

"The risks of combining drugs and alcohol are often difficult to predict and this is further complicated by the potential mix of 'blended white powders' of which many will be unknown and unpredictable in their effects."

PA

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker