Eight members of a suspected criminal group were arrested yesterday following an investigation by the National Crime Agency.

The group is believed to be involved in the trafficking of heroin and the production of amphetamine worth millions.

NCA officers arrested six of the men in Merseyside with support from Merseyside police.

The investigation also led to the arrest of a man in Glasgow and one in prison.

The group, aged between 34 and 66, remain in police custody.

The group is suspected of producing amphetamine in Scotland and trafficking heroin from Scotland to Merseyside.

The suspected leader of the group, a 46-year-old man from Saint Helens, was one of those arrested.

The NCA released the following footage of his arrest yesterday afternoon.

This follows earlier arrests made by the NCA in December where two men were arrested after arriving on a flight from Turkey.

This operation also led to the seizure of more than 620kg of APAA, a substance used in the production of amphetamine.

Both were later released under investigation.

The arrests were made as part of Operation Venetic – a national investigation into the EncroChat encrypted messaging platform.

NCA Operations Manager Ian McConnell said: “Producing amphetamine on an industrial scale would have devastating consequences for the community.

“Drug trafficking thrives on inciting violence, spreading fear, and exploiting vulnerable children and adults for criminal gain.

“We will continue to target those at the top of the drug market chain, to make their businesses unviable and keep people safe.”

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