LONDON: A man and a woman have been charged respectively with firearms and drugs offences as investigations by a joint NCA and Metropolitan Police unit targeted organised crime and associated violence from UK ports to London streets.
The two investigations are part of sustained efforts to tackle the range of threats posed by the class A drugs trade, particularly undermining of UK border controls, and the use of violence and weapons by those controlling distribution within the UK. On Friday 18 May, 32-yearold Spanish national, Olivia Anton-Altamira no, was charged with drugs importation in relation to the seizure of 259kg of class A drugs smuggled into the UK from Mexico, which were hidden inside a specially-constructed, industrial fruit processing machine.
The haul included 250kg of cocaine and 9kg of methamphetamine (crystal meth) worth an estimated combined street value of £22 million. Officers from the joint NCA and Metropolitan Police Organised Crime Partnership (OCP) had arrested her at her home in Black heath two days earlier. On the day Anton-Altamira no was charged, 32- year-old Sher-Afghan Kattak, was arrested in White City following a surveillance operation by the OCP.
He was charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, following the discovery of a converted blank-firing BBM Gap pistol and loaded magazine in the locker of a nearby health club Kattack was further arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply class A drugs and hassince been remanded in police custody. Organised crime gangs are driving the surge in street violence in London. Crime groups such as the Albanian mafia are importing Class Adrugs in to London and fuelling turf wars on the streets. The warning has been issued from John Coles, head of special operations at the National Crime Agency, Britain’s equivalent of the FBI which targets high echelon organised crime.
He said a special task force of NCA officials and Met detectives had seized 450 kilos of Class A drugs from gangs in the past six months. The 80-strong unit had also seized 90 firearms destined for London in the past year. He said:” These are gangs whose drug activities are in part fuelling the surge in violent crime in London.” Last Friday the unit called the Organised Crime Partnership has charged a Spanish woman following the seizure of 250 kilos of cocaine worth £22 million at the London Gateway Port. The cocaine was hidden inside an industrial fruit processing machine being imported from South America. Police followed the delivery to take place at an industrial estate in Wood Green before making arrests. Ex drug dealer Quince Garcia tells us about his story In another case last Friday a handgun was found in the locker of a health club in west London. The weapon is linked to an inquiry into allegations of county lines drug running from London to the Home Counties. A man has been charged. Mr Coles said gangs were bringing drugs in to London which were then being distributed to counties by a second tier of criminals.