Massive Drugs Haul Is Seized; Fourteen Arrested in Series of Co-Ordinated Police Strikes

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), September 12, 2007 | Go to article overview

Massive Drugs Haul Is Seized; Fourteen Arrested in Series of Co-Ordinated Police Strikes


Byline: By BRENDA HICKMAN Crime Reporter

A CRIME syndicate dealing in massive amounts of drugs has been smashed.

Strikes by police on depots, lorry and container yards and other premises have led to 14 arrests and the recovery of more than pounds 500,000 in illicit narcotics.

Today police inquiries and searches were continuing at an industrial estate.

It is understood a crime network of drug dealers was involved in the importation of cannabis resin, along with class A crack cocaine, heroin, and amphetamines.

During a two-day operation, Northumbria Police rounded up suspected key players in the racket.

Gang members were said to be lining-up customers - thought to be lower level dealers - to pick up cargos of cannabis stashed in containers. Large cash transactions were also being carried out.

More than 450 kilos of cannabis, 10 kilos of amphetamines, quantities of crack cocaine, Ecstasy tablets and heroin and pounds 150,000 in cash were seized in the series of strikes.

Fourteen people, men and women from Newcastle, North Tyneside, Durham and Glasgow, were arrested in the raids codenamed Operation Verona.

The arrests were carried out by the force's Crime Operations unit.

Those charged are Robert Hen-son, 59, of Ancroft Garth, Shincliffe, County Durham, John Rae, 39, of Killingworth Lane, Backworth, Paul Thompson, 48, of Telford Close, Backworth, and Peter Thirlaway, 38, of Dowling Avenue, Whitley Bay, all North Tyneside.

Officers in Newcastle were also involved in raids linked to the main operation.

Det Supt Dave Borrie, head of Crime Operations, said: "This was a co-ordinated strike against the import and supply of drugs to the North East, following several weeks of surveillance and intelligence gathering by our teams of specialist detectives. …

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