FOUR men have been arrested in Hartlepool as part of a UK-wide police operation to destroy an organised crime and drugs gang worth millions of pounds.
Teams of police officers swooped on four houses in Hamsptead Gardens, Caistor Drive, Arncliffe Gardens and Park Square this morning.
Four men, aged 33, 36 and two aged 29, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs and were taken to be questioned.
At around the same time, two further arrests were made in Wales, two in Liverpool and three at Holme House Prison, in Stockton.
Police say the raids were the culmination of over two years of planning by three police forces, including Cleveland, as part of Operation Roderigo which started in 2012 to investigate the alleged activities of a “sophisticated and well-resourced organised crime group” operating out of Cleveland and Liverpool.
To date, 15 people have been arrested and convicted and are serving in excess of 88 years in prison.
Drugs recovered in the initial investigation amounted to:
• 5 kilo’s of high purity cocaine with a street value estimated around £1m
• 100 litres amphetamine oil estimated at £12m
• 37 kilos of cannabis estimated at £55,500
• 80 kilos of amphetamine estimated at £800,000
• 12 kilos of methamphetamine estimated at £120,000
Detective Sergeant Sarah Robinson, who is leading the investigation, said: “The focus of today’s operation was to to dismantle the supply of drugs in this area.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger, who accompanied officers on the early morning raids, said: “This was a well-planned and executed operation over a two year period, tackling high-end criminals who are manufacturing as well as supplying illegal drugs.
“I’m sure residents in Hartlepool and across Cleveland will join me in congratulating all our officers and staff involved in this operation which sends a very clear signal.”
A spokeswoman for Cleveland police said: “Four houses in Hartlepool were targeted by police in early morning raids today resulting in two 29-year-old men, a 36-year-old man and a 33-year-old man being arrested for Conspiracy to Supply Class A and Class B drugs.
“Two further arrests were made in Wales and two in Liverpool with three further arrests made from Holme House Prison.”