Raids have been taking place across the region this morning in what Durham Police say is one of their biggest crackdowns in 20 years on organised serious crime gangs.
Police say that the aim was to raid 18 properties, all at the same time in order to catch what they believe is a serious organised crime gang who are responsible for the supply of Class A and Class B drugs to the region and money-laundering.
A statement by Durham Police said: Twelve people have been arrested during dawn raids on houses in County Durham and Northumbria this morning (Thursday, July 5).
The nine men and three women are being held for questioning at police stations in Peterlee, Durham, Spennymoor and Bishop Auckland.
Operation Melrose has taken 6 months of planning and involved specialist teams acting on information received from local people.
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