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Suspected organised crime group members arrested on suspicion of attempting to smuggle 1.3 tonnes of cocaine worth £140m – after container full discovered in Felixstowe





Several suspected members of an organised crime group have been arrested on suspicion of trying to smuggle £140m worth of cocaine.

Last August, 1.3 tonnes of the Class A drug were discovered in a shipping container at the Port of Felixstowe, which arrived from Sierra Leone.

The drugs, which had a street value of £140m, were hidden in 20kg sacks.

Nine members from an organised crime group have been arrested for attempting to smuggle £140 worth of cocaine. Picture: National Crime Agency
Nine members from an organised crime group have been arrested for attempting to smuggle £140 worth of cocaine. Picture: National Crime Agency

They were covered in flour and were due to be delivered to an industrial estate in Wigan, Lancashire.

Today, officers from the National Crime Agency arrested nine suspects from the group, which is from North West of England, in a series of co-ordinated strikes.

Six suspected are allegedly directly linked to the huge seizure.

Three of the alleged members were arrested over conspiracy to supply Class A drugs offences.

The Class A drug was found in a shipping container at the Port of Felixstowe last August. Picture: National Crime Agency
The Class A drug was found in a shipping container at the Port of Felixstowe last August. Picture: National Crime Agency

The men are in their forties, fifties and sixties.

Two suspects were arrested at properties in Bootle, one in Crosby and one man was arrested in Birkenhead, all Merseyside.

Four suspects were arrested at properties in Chorley, Lancashire.

One man, who is currently in prison, was also arrested.

The men allegedly had various roles within the conspiracy from orchestrating the importation to organising premises and logistics.

All are currently 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.”

Five suspects were arrested in late 2022 over the importation and were later released under investigation.

Three of those suspects were rearrested today.