A SECOND suspect has been detained in Oldham as part of a major international drugs operation centring on encrypted phones.

Detectives from the National Crime Agency raided a home in the Hathershaw area on Wednesday, it has now emerged,

And during a search of the premises around £50,000 in cash was seized.

A 31-year-old man has now been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply hard drugs and money laundering.

The bust is the second to involve a man from the borough as part of Operation Venetic, the inquiry launched after French police cracked an encrypted phone network, Enchro-Chat, which was being used by criminals to evade scrutiny.

Raids were also conduced at two properties in Bolton. One home saw £10,000 in cash recovered and after searching a second, two high-value watches were seized and a 43-year-old was arrested on suspicion of money laundering.

A fifth man, aged 34, is said to have handed himself in at Bury Police Station on Thursday, following one of the Bolton NCA searches. He was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and money laundering.

All five have either been released under investigation or on bail, officials have confirmed.

Christopher Watson, 44, of Huddersfield Road, Diggle, was charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and conspiracy to supply Class B drugs as a result of earlier NCA raids.

Mark Spoors, Branch Commander at the NCA, said: “This operation has made a huge dent in a criminal network we believe is responsible for supplying drugs in the North West, on top of laundering criminal cash.

“It’s yet another example of the impact in localities up and down the country of Operation Venetic, the most significant investigation into serious and organised crime we have seen in this country.

“The NCA, and our law enforcement partners, are working together to bear down on the criminals the pose the highest risk to the UK. Rest assured, we are not done yet.”