Merseyside Police, supported by officers from Lancashire and Thames Valley, has carried out dawn raids at 18 addresses in Sefton, north Liverpool , Lancashire and Oxfordshire this morning (Thursday, 10 January 2013).

Eight men (aged between 21 and 48 years old) have been arrested on suspicion of drugs and money laundering offences.

The arrests are the culmination of a 12-month operation targeting the supply of Class A, B and C drugs in Merseyside, Scotland and other parts of the UK. Searches of the properies are ongoing but during one search warrant executed in Walton, officers discovered a cannabis farm.

During the operation, detectives from the specialist Matrix team worked in partnership with the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) seizing half a kilo of heroin with kilo quantities of adulterant with a street value of £350,000, cocaine with an estimated street value of £26,000, and a substantial number of cannabis plants with an estimated street value of £25,000 – £50,000.

Officers have also recovered several thousand ecstasy tablets with a street value of more than £50,000 along with a rotary tablet manufacturing machine, which was used to produce the so-called designer tablets. A small quantity of shotgun ammunition was also recovered.

Head of Matrix, Det Chief Superintendent Paul Richardson, said: “The arrests made today are the result of an extensive investigation by detectives. Acting on information we carefully planned this initiative over several months and today’s operation is just one example of the force’s commitment – with the support of the public and partner agencies – to tackling the blight of drug supply on our streets.

“The force has already had many successes in disrupting the supply of drugs on Merseyside, with the help of local communities we can build on the good work that has already taken place. I would like to urge anyone who has any information about those involved in the supply and distribution of drugs on our streets to come forward so we can take appropriate action.”   Those arrested this morning have been taken to police stations where detectives will interview them.

Anyone with information about those involved in drug crime can phone Merseyside Police on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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