Nine suspects have been arrested in the matter of the enormous shipment of cocaine estimated to be 1.3 Tonnes worth, intercepted by the National Crime Agency (NCA) in Manchester.

These suspects are believed to be members of a suspected organized crime group (OCG) across the north west. They have been detained by the NCA.

The enormous shipment of cocaine was discovered in August last year at the Port of Felixstowe, Suffolk, after it had arrived from Sierra Leone. It was destined for an estate in Wigan, according to the NCA. The consignment, packed with 20 kilo sacks disguised as flour, was estimated to have a street value of ยฃ140m.

A string of arrests was made following the huge discovery. Nine suspects were arrested in a series of coordinated strikes. Six, the NCA says, are allegedly ‘directly linked’ to the huge seizure. Three were arrested over other conspiracies to supply Class A drugs offenses.

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.

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

According to the NCA, since the seizure of the drugs the agency has been working intensely to identify and pursue those responsible.

Three suspects were rearrested on Wednesday, November 29, 2023 from the five suspects that were released under investigation after they were arrested in late 2022.