• December 27, 2023

The enormous shipment of cocaine from Sierra Leone destined for an industrial estate in Wigan

The enormous shipment of cocaine from Sierra Leone destined for an industrial estate in Wigan
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By Todd Fitzgerald Executive editor

This enormous shipment of cocaine – 1.3 TONNES-worth – was destined for Wigan. The National Crime Agency (NCA) intercepted the huge Class A haul and made a string of arrests.

Members of a suspected organised crime group (OCG) across the north west have been detained. The consignment, packed with 20 kilo sacks disguised as flour, had a street value of £140m, it is estimated.

It was discovered in August last year at the Port of Felixstowe, Suffolk, after it had arrived from Sierra Leone. The NCA says it was destined for an industrial estate in Wigan.

Now officers have arrested nine suspects in a series of co-ordinated strikes. Six, the NCA says, are allegedly ‘directly linked’ to the huge seizure. Three were arrested over other conspiracy to supply Class A drugs offences.

The men are in their 40s, 50s and 60s. Two suspects were arrested at properties in Bootle, Merseyside; one in Crosby, Merseyside; and one in Birkenhead.

Four were arrested in Chorley, Lancashire. A man was produced from prison and arrested, the NCA added.

A string of arrests have been made following the huge discovery (Image: NCA)

The men, the NCA alleges, had various roles in the conspiracy – from orchestrating importation to organising premises and logistics. They all remain in custody.

NCA branch commander Richie Davies 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 and later released under investigation. Three of those suspects were rearrested today (Wednesday, November 29).


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