Arrests made across Lancashire and Merseyside in connection to £140m pounds of seized cocaine

The shipment was found in a port, and was hidden under bags of flour. Credit: National Crime Agency

Members of a suspected organised crime group (OCG) have been arrested on suspicion of trying to smuggle £140 million pounds worth of cocaine into the UK.

In co-ordinated strikes the National Crime Agency (NCA) conducted a number of morning raids on 29 November across Lancashire and Merseyside, leading to nine arrests.

The raids were focused on a number of suspected members of an OCG responsible for the attempt to smuggle in the shipment of cocaine in August 2022 from Sierra Leone.

But the shipment was then found in a shipping container at the Port of Felixstowe in Suffolk.

The Class A drugs were hidden in 20 kilo sacks with a cover load of flour, and were scheduled to be delivered to Wigan before they were intercepted.

Of the nine suspects arrested, the NCA says that six are allegedly directly linked to the seized drugs and that five of them have previously been arrested.

The other three alleged OCG members were arrested in relation to a separate conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Four suspects were arrested in Chorley, while other arrests were made in Bootle, Crosby, and Birkenhead.

All nine suspects are now in custody awaiting interview.

Richie Davies, National Crime Agency Branch Commander, said: “This was a massive haul of cocaine with an estimated street value of £140m.

“There is no doubt these drugs would have been sold on into communities across the UK fuelling violence, exploitation and misery.

“Since the seizure of the drugs the agency has been working intensely to identify and pursue those responsible.”

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