AN operation involving the National Crime Agency has resulted in the one of the largest ever seizures of heroin in the Europe, denying millions of pounds of profits to organised crime groups.
Working with Dutch and Belgian law enforcement, the NCA developed intelligence leading to the recovery of more than 1.5 tonnes of the class A drug at the Port of Rotterdam and the arrest on 9 February of five men at an address in Etten Leur, outside of Breda, in the Netherlands.
Two men have since been released under investigation, whilst the other three have been remanded into custody for a further 90 days.
The huge haul – the biggest ever in the Netherlands – was found in a container filled with Himalayan Rock Salt. It would be worth around £30 million to organised criminals at wholesale, and in around £150 million at street level in the UK – where it is typically supplied via County Lines dealing.
County Lines is an operation, which has been targeting Welsh towns and villages with dealers and suppliers taking over properties and recruiting dealers and runners to do the dirty work.
Over the last year the NCA has seized more than 116 tonnes of Class A drugs as part of international operations, working with law enforcement partners to stop illicit drugs reaching the UK.
NCA Deputy Director Matt Horne said: “This is a huge heroin seizure and not only have we stopped it making its way to the streets, we have denied organised crime tens of millions of pounds in profits.
“The heroin trade feeds addictions that put users’ lives at risk, while giving rise to high levels of violence and exploitation that comes with County Lines dealing.
“Through strong relationships with our Dutch and Belgian partners, we are targeting criminals who transport bulk consignments of Class A drugs into Europe and onward to the UK.
“We will continue to work alongside partners here and overseas to target criminals who chase profits while dominating and intimidating communities.”