ONE of Gwent Police’s biggest operations into tackling serious and organised crime across the region saw 13 early morning raids with more than 10 people being arrested.

Operation Jigsaw had been in the planning for several months and its purpose is to dismantle the full scope of criminality - including drug and county lines, modern day slavery and human trafficking and cyber and financial crime - in Gwent.

And yesterday morning, a specific operation under Operation Jigsaw - christened Operation Divide - saw more than 150 officers conduct 13 early morning raids into properties dotted in Alway and Lliswerry.

The teams involved in the raids included serious organised crime team, specialist method of entry and search trained officers, along with officers from the dogs’ section and criminal investigation teams. Local officers were also on hand to help.

Following the raids, a number of items were seized, including an Audi A3 and Q5, along with large quantities of designer clothing and jewellery, cash and high value electrical equipment.

And what is thought to be Class A drugs have also been seized and will be sent away for forensic examination and identification.

The detective inspector for organised crime, Andrew Tuck, who led the warrants, said he was pleased with the results.

“[The] raids are a culmination of months of meticulous work across Gwent Police to disrupt and dismantle organised crime groups operating within Gwent,” he said.

“Today builds on a number of arrests and seizures of drugs, cash and possessions already made from this organised criminal network and will hopefully send a clear message to others involved in the supply of drugs that we will disrupt these most serious crimes in Gwent.

“Criminals involved in serious organised crime are a daily threat to our communities, they have complete disregard for everyone, far too often that personal greed for wealth and status outweighs any morals.

“The associated serious violence, large scale drug supply and fraud, to name but a few, have enormous consequences creating pain and suffering in our communities – which far too often, people don’t see as part of the bigger picture of serious organised crime.

“Seeing the wealth generated by criminals can also be corrosive and dispiriting for our hard working, law abiding residents. It is wholly unfair or legitimate.”

And the superintendent for the Newport area Ian Roberts described yesterday’s raids as a resounding success.

He said: “Operation Divide is a part of the wider Operation Jigsaw.

“The operation involved more than 150 of our specialist officers carrying out these warrants and I’m extremely proud of their hard work and determination to make our communities safe. This activity, does not just take place in isolation, it is just one aspect of a much larger fight to tackle serious and organised crime in Gwent. We have our eyes on these people and we won’t stop this fight to dismantle these groups of criminals.

“The impact of the individuals’ activities is not just felt in Gwent but in a wider region.

“Operation Jigsaw is looking into Gwent as a whole. It is a Gwent Police operation.

“As part of the operation we are also working with the council to assess the impact. We are also working with schools to make sure that children in these families are being looked after. Some officers are also doing an environmental clean-up, where people have been concerned about needles.

“All of these things are part of Jigsaw. We are trying to re-build the community after taking these people out of it."

He added: “There will now be further investigations and we will discuss the evidence we have collected.

“Our aim is to bring criminals to justice and let the community know.

“But we need the community to help us too. The public know who are dealing drugs and involved in other crimes and now we need them to help us identify them.

“If you have any information which can help us please do not hesitate to get in contact. The best numbers are 101, 999 in an emergency or Crime Stoppers.”

So far, 11 people have been arrested. Five people - two 29-year-old men, one 24-year-old man, one 33-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman – have been arrested on suspicion of conspiring to supply a Class A controlled drug and money laundering. A 29-year-old man and woman, a 32-year-old man and 56-year-old man have been arrested on suspicion of conspiring to supply a Class A controlled drug. And a 56-year-old man and 22-year-old woman have been arrested on suspicion of money laundering.

They are all currently in police custody and investigations are now ongoing.

Within the last year, Gwent Police have also carried out two other big operations.

The first was Operation Jewel which was the largest drugs operation in Gwent.

The operation led to the offenders being jailed for a combined total of nearly 70 years. And of the 33 people arrested as part of the exercise, 30 either received custodial sentences, suspended sentences or community orders.

And then five months ago, eleven raids took place in Newport under Operation Finch, in a bid to dismantle drug trafficking.