In a major operation, the National Crime Agency (NCA) has intercepted a colossal shipment of cocaine weighing 1.3 tonnes, worth an estimated £140 million, destined for an industrial estate in Wigan, United Kingdom. The drugs, concealed in 20-kilo sacks disguised as flour, were discovered in August last year at the Port of Felixstowe, Suffolk, having originated from Sierra Leone.
The NCA has apprehended nine suspects believed to be part of an organized crime group (OCG) operating across the north-west.
The individuals, ranging in age from their 40s to 60s, are allegedly connected to the massive drug seizure. Six of them are said to be directly linked to the cocaine haul, while three face charges related to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
The suspects had diverse roles within the alleged conspiracy, ranging from orchestrating the importation to handling premises and logistics.
All nine remain in custody following a series of coordinated strikes in Bootle, Crosby, Birkenhead, and Chorley, as well as a prison where one suspect was produced for arrest.
NCA Branch Commander Richie Davies emphasized the significance of the operation, stating, “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, fueling violence, exploitation, and misery. Since the seizure of the drugs, the agency has been working intensely to identify and pursue those responsible.”
Five suspects initially arrested in late 2022 were released under investigation, but three of them were rearrested on Wednesday, November 29, as the NCA continues its efforts to dismantle the criminal network behind this substantial drug trafficking attempt.