METOROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICERS today carried out a series of co-ordinated raids on homes in London and the South East as part of an operation to smash an international drugs smuggling ring.
A total of 11 people – aged between 25 and 53 – were arrested.
Led by the Met’s Serious, Organised and Economic Crime Command, today’s arrests were the culmination of a lengthy intelligence-led operation, which aimed to disrupt and dismantle what was “a well-established, organised criminal network responsible for importing and distributing millions of pounds worth of cocaine,” said the police.
Large quantities of near pure cocaine were recovered with a street value totalling many millions of pounds.
The police believe that the drugs would come in to London Heathrow in cargo containers on flights from Mexico City. Once the aircraft arrived into the terminal, cargo handlers would quickly remove the drugs, which were boxed inside the cargo container, before it was moved on.
“Couriers would then liaise with the cargo handlers and collect the drugs and pass them onto the criminals responsible for distributing the drugs to local dealers,” said the Met Police.
Detective Superintedent Stephen Ratcliffe from the Serious, Organised and Economic Crime Command said:
Today’s arrests are the culmination of a lot of planning and hard work. We have dismantled what was a sophisticated, well oiled, well established operation involving a network of criminals from the cargo handlers to the couriers to the distributors all the way up to the top of the pile.
All those arrested remain in custody at this time.