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Seven men charged in National Crime Agency investigation into £140m cocaine seizure

Seven men have been charged over a plot to import £140m worth of cocaine into the UK.

The drugs, which weighed 1.3 tonnes, were discovered in August last year in a shipping container at the Port of Felixstowe, Suffolk, after they had arrived from Sierra Leone in west Africa.

The class A drugs had a street value of £140m and were hidden in 20 kilo sacks with a cover load of flour and were destined to be delivered to an industrial estate in Wigan, Lancashire.

On Wednesday 29 November, National Crime Agency officers arrested nine suspects and last night seven were charged with conspiring to supply cocaine between 27 February 2020 and 29 November 2023. Two men were released on bail.

Those charged are:

Stephen Martland, 68, of Lakeland Gardens, Chorley, Lancashire.

Paul Mockett, 49, of Stump Lane, Chorley, Lancashire.

Darren Wetton, 55, of Ashby Street, Chorley, Lancashire. Wetton was also charged with being concerned in the supply of cannabis between 01 December 2022 and 10 December 2022.

Darryn Schofield, 44, of no fixed abode.

Neil Maguire, 44, of Georgia Close, Bootle, Liverpool.

Neil Foley, 45, of Kingsway Avenue, Broughton, Preston, Lancashire.

Paul O’Shea, 45, of Edge Lane, Crosby, Liverpool.

Four men  appeared at Wirral Magistrates’ Court last Friday and three appeared at Blackburn Magistrates’ Court. All were remanded to custody apart from Wetton who was bailed.

They will all next appear at Liverpool Crown Court on 3 January 2024.


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