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Five held and homes raided after £20m drugs seizure

PUBLISHED: 16:08 18 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:11 05 October 2010

FIVE men were arrested last night in one of East London's biggest ever drugs raids worth an estimated £20 million minimum. Officers burst into premises in Romford, where drugs were been seen being loaded from one lorry onto other vehicles, the whole consignment weighing five-and-a-half tonnes

By Mike Brooke

FIVE men were arrested last night in one of East London’s biggest-ever drugs raids worth an estimated £20 million minimum.

Addresses were raided in the East End as well as Essex and south-east London.

Officers burst into premises at Askew Warehousing in Askew Farm Lane, Grays-Thurrock, where drugs weighing more than five-and-a-half tonnes are said to have been seen being loaded from a lorry to other vehicles.

3.5 TONNES OF CANNABIS

Searches of the warehouse area revealed 12 pallets contained what is believed to be three-and-a-half tonnes of cannabis resin, one-and-a-half tonnes of amphetamine, half-a-tonne of skunk and several kilos of mixed cocktail’ loads of unidentified class A and class B drugs.

Police moved in at 7pm and arrested the five men for alleged conspiracy to import controlled drugs.

Raids were then carried out at two East End addresses at Bethnal Green and the Isle of Dogs, a house in Grays near Tilbury, and other addresses in south-east London at Rotherhithe, South Norwood and Beckenham.

CRIMINAL ORGANISATION

“We believe we’ve caused a major disruption to a sophisticated organised criminal enterprise,” said Organised Crime Agency principle officer Nigel Eeles.

“The size of the seizure is significant. Trafficking the drugs into the UK could have caused considerable harm to individuals and created substantial profit for a criminal organisation.”

The five arrested, including two in their late 60s, are currently in custody at Charing Cross police station in central London, Scotland Yard confirmed today.

Another two believed to be in their 30s fled from the warehouse and detectives are now looking for them.

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