Police Seal Biggest UK Bust After Seizing More Than £38m Worth Of Drugs
In total, around 50 tonnes of drugs were seized.
Thirteen men between the ages of 24 and 59 have now been arrested during raids earlier on Tuesday morning. Four more men and two women were also arrested on European Arrest Warrants in Holland and are now awaiting extradition to the UK.
The group of men arrested are thought to be members of the UK wing of an organised crime gang that has been using front companies in the UK and The Netherlands to traffic cocaine, heroin and cannabis through British ports for around 18 months.
The plan was a simple one. They used lorries laden with veggies and juice with the drugs secreted within them and snuck them into Britain through the ports.
However, they failed to outwit the combined efforts of the National Crime Agency (NCA), Europol, Eurojust, HMRC, the Police of Finland National Bureau of Investigation and various British police forces.
Basically, it's been a big operation, but a successful one.
The NCA announced that 'the full extent of the drug trafficking operation' was discovered when they intercepted three large amounts of drugs in September 2018.
Among the drugs seized were 351kg of cocaine, 250kg of cannabis, 92kg of heroin and 1,850kg of hemp/hashish. The total street value was around £38m.
The enquiries that followed those initial raids led the investigators to believe the racket had been ongoing between February 2017 and October 2018.
The NCA also said that this latest bust is related to a previous bust in 2015 after which 13 people were sentenced to a combined 176 years imprisonment following the seizure of more than 100kgs of heroin.
The men arrested in the latest raid were taken into custody in London, Manchester, St Helens, Warrington, Stockport, Bolton, Dewsbury and Leeds.
They're now due to be questioned and interviewed by detectives.
The NCA's regional head of investigations said: "The NCA targets organised crime groups causing the greatest harm to the UK.
"Stopping criminals who don't care about the damage they are causing in communities, and the children being exploited by County Lines drug dealing, is an absolute priority.
"We suspect these men were involved in an industrial-scale operation - the biggest ever uncovered in the UK - bringing in tonnes of deadly drugs that were distributed to crime groups throughout the country.
"By working closely with partners here and overseas, in particular the Dutch National Police, we believe we have dismantled a well-established drug supply route."
Featured Image Credit: NCA