£1.6m in cash found hidden in divan bed in EncroChat police raid

More than £1.6 million in cash was found hidden in a bed during a raid by National Crime Agency officers.

The raid on a flat in Sutton Coldfield as part of Operation Venetic, uncovered the cash inside the drawers of a double divan bed.

On the left side of the bed the cash had been counted and on the right were bags of uncounted cash.

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On the bags were written dates and names of members of the EncroChat crime group’s nicknames.

As well as cash, professional electronic cash counting machines were seized alongside a ledger showing cash collection records, digital scales, a heat sealing machine and plastic pouches likely to have been used sealing one kilogramme blocks of drugs.

A money counting machine found in the raid
A money counting machine found in the raid
(Image: NCA)

Two men aged 45 have been arrested as part of the investigation and released under investigation.

And a man aged 37 is wanted as part of the inquiry. Officers found two kilogrammes of cocaine inside his car and £56,000 in his wardrobe when they searched his home.

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Encrochat was the specialist phone network used by criminals across Europe to sell drugs, guns and plan their activities.

But a covert operation by police in France and Holland managed to hack into the encrypted system, providing police across Europe with access to messages between serious criminals.

The penetration, known in the UK as Operation Venetic, has led to over 83 arrests on Merseyside.

Over £1.6 million in cash was seized by National Crime Agency officers after they found the bank notes inside a divan bed during a raid in Sutton Coldfield, near Birmingham. The raid was part of Operation Venetic, the codename given to the UK's investigations into Encrochat encrypted phone network used by criminal operations being cracked.
The raid was part of Operation Venetic, the codename given to the UK’s investigations into the Encrochat encrypted phone network used by criminal operations being cracked.
(Image: National Crime Agency)

The force has also recovered loaded firearms and seized of 44 kg of cocaine, 11 kg of cannabis and £1.3 million in cash.

And over recent recent months a number of well known drug dealers from the Huyton area have been jailed as a result of the Encrochat hack.

Meanwhile, gangland remains stunned, with rumours of key figures going into hiding – though a new generation of phones offering secret communications has already appeared following the breach of EncroChat.

Cash found in the Encrochat raid
Cash found in the Encrochat raid
(Image: NCA)

NCA operations manager Rick MacKenzie said: “The recovery of this money is excellent news for the public purse and crucially deprives an organised crime group of a lot of cash.

“That money can no longer be used to reinvest in more offending. Our investigation continues.”

The uncontested forfeiture order was granted on Friday at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, meaning more than £1.6 million will be returned to the public purse.

Liverpool Echo – Liverpool News