Operation Strongbox Leads to 46 Arrests

The Police are praising Operation Strongbox, a cross force operation against drug gangs targeting the island, as a success after a seizure of more than £200,000 worth of drugs.

Officers in the island worked with their partners in Customs and Excise, Crimestoppers, Merseyside North West Regional Crime Unit and Lancashire Constabulary on the operation, which led to 46 arrests and 41 investigations.

Beginning in June, the operation focussed on deterring criminals and organise crime gangs come coming to the island, protecting vulnerable people, making the Isle of Man harder to target for criminals and increasing intelligence gathering around the ports.

The operation highlighted that the use of the postal and courier systems to import controlled drugs to the island during Covid has continued despite the reopening of the borders. However, the Police have also worked with Isle of Man Post Office and couriers on the island to seize drugs coming through those channels.

While Strongbox has now ended, Superintendent Stephen Maddocks said that the Constabulary will be taking the lessons learned during this period forward.

Key Figures:

46 arrests, 41 investigations
32 production of drugs offences, 12 Class A, 18 Class B, 2 Class C
5 Money laundering offences identified
2 Possession of firearm offences identifiedHeroin – 243.7g, £60,925, Cocaine – 24.45g, £2,445, Cannabis – 4.6kg £139,150, Cash – £16,445 – Total drug seizure 4.9kg, total for drugs and cash £218,975

He added: ‘Operation Strongbox has been a successful joint operation that set out the aims of what we wanted to achieve when it was launched on June 28 2021. The Isle of Man Constabulary, together with out partners, look to keep the community of the Isle of Man and people travelling to the island safe. I would like to thank Isle of Man Customs and Excise, the Merseyside North West Regional Crime Unit and Lancashire Constabulary for their assistance with this operation. We will continue to work and prevent criminals from coming to the Island to exploit our way of life or vulnerable people in our community and if they do, we will investigation and deal with any criminality.’

As a number of people remain under police investigation or have been released on bail, the final outcomes of the operation cannot yet be confirmed.

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