Joint operation nets £4m drugs’ seizure in ‘significant disruption of organised crime’

Seven men were arrested after a £4 million cannabis haul hidden in crates of lettuces was unearthed in a container shipped to the UK from Portugal.

Jun 5, 2018
By Nick Hudson
Salad days for investigators: Hidden 'gems' haul discovered in the lettuces

Border Force officers discovered 400kg of the drug in a joint operation with the National Crime Agency (NCA) last month.

The drugs were concealed aboard the Wec Vermeer vessel, which had docked at the Port of Liverpool three days ahead of the raid.

A covert surveillance operation was launched, with investigators tracking the container after it was loaded onto a lorry and driven to an industrial unit in Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire.

Officers detained the driver and two others who were unloading the vehicle, before three suspects were held in nearby Kirkham and a fourth individual was arrested in the Trafford Park area of Greater Manchester.

Greg McKenna, head of NCA Investigations for the north of England, hailed the operation as a “significant disruption of an organised crime network that has stopped the proceeds of crime funding further criminality that would damage communities and exploit the vulnerable”.

He added: “We take importations such as this very seriously, and these arrests show that we will detect criminal activity and arrest those responsible.”

All seven suspects, arrested on suspicion of conspiring to import class B drugs, were released under investigation on May 31.

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