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North east arrests in opium importation investigation

Four men have been arrested and a cannabis farm discovered following a series of National Crime Agency raids targeting an organised crime group suspected of importing class A drugs worth more than £330,000.

The investigation began with a seizure of around 34 kilos of opium made by Border Force officers at Heathrow airport in March this year.

The drugs had been sent from Iran and were hidden inside a consignment of wooden shelves (see picture, right) that was addressed to a property in Wallsend.

Early this morning NCA officers, assisted by Northumbria Police, executed five warrants in the Newcastle and Wallsend areas.

Four men aged between 26 and 53 were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to import class A drugs and remain in custody.

At one of the locations in Shield Street, Newcastle a cannabis farm was also discovered.

NCA north east operations manager Brian Shaw said:

“Drug trafficking fuels violence and exploitation and we are determined to work with law enforcement colleagues to protect the public from that.

“We have recovered further evidence following today’s operation, and our investigation continues.”


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