Suspects arrested in early morning Hartlepool drug raids released pending investigation

Five people arrested in Hartlepool in connection with a major drugs seizure have been released as investigations continue.

Friday, 24th September 2021, 1:10 pm
Updated Friday, 24th September 2021, 1:10 pm

The National Crime Agency (NCA) announced that four men aged between 28 and 57 and a 53-year-old woman were arrested in early morning raids on addresses in Hartlepool on Wednesday, September 22.

They were are held in custody on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and money laundering.

The suspects have since been released under investigation.

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A raid in Hartlepool.

The NCA said the search warrants and arrests were part of an investigation targeting alleged UK drugs couriers of an international organised crime group.

It is said the action is linked to the recovery of 2.3 tonnes of cocaine worth £190m 80 miles off the Plymouth coast.

The huge haul was made on September 9 when Border Force intercepted a Jamaican-flagged yacht.

Six men, one Briton and five Nicaraguans have been charged and remanded on suspicion of drug trafficking offences in relation to the seizure.

The raids in Hartlepool were supported by officers from Cleveland Police and the North East Regional Serious Organised Crime Unit (NERSOU).

Gavin Heckles, NCA operations manager, said following Wednesday’s arrests: “The National Crime Agency is working with domestic and international partners to investigate this organised crime group from top to bottom.

“Class A drugs wreck lives and can devastate communities – fighting their importation and distribution through the UK is a priority for us.”

Chief Inspector Rachel Stockdale, of Cleveland Police, encouraged anyone concerned about drugs activity to report it to police on 101.

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