Ealing Police make biggest drugs bust in a decade

Drugs with a street value of £10 million were aimed for local area

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Ealing Police have been successful in making the biggest cocaine seizure by a Metropolitan Police force in the last ten years. It may even be the largest ever seizure of its kind made in the capital.

Under the banner of Operation Bandage Borough officers investigated and seized what is believed to be up to 168 kilos of cocaine, of which today 100 kilos have tested positive, and 500 kilos of herbal cannabis.

The combined street value of all that was seized is around £10 million at today’s market value possibly the biggest ever seizure of cocaine in the Met's history. It is believed that the cocaine would have been supplied to the local market as crack.

Commander Jim Smith, Territorial Policing praised Ealing Police saying: “The seizure of such a substantial quantity of cocaine and cannabis at a local borough policing level is unprecedented. Ealing police have demonstrated their commitment and determination to tackle complex drug enforcement operations with the assistance of their local community. The implications of removing what is estimated to be 168 kilograms of cocaine and half a tonne of cannabis from the streets of London are obvious."

The intelligence lead operation began on June 9th 2004 involving the Ealing Police Crime Squad and Intelligence Unit.

A 500-kilo consignment of herbal cannabis arrived at Tilbury Docks, from a ship whose port of origin was South Africa. Borough Officers with the assistance of the local community put in place a covert operation on business premises and individuals in Ealing where the consignment was destined.

This protracted operation lead to the arrest of a 33-yr-old women from Islington at her home address in June. This woman had utilized a number of false identities. Further detailed investigations and enquiries by the Operation Bandage Team identified another consignment under her control at a storage unit in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

A search warrant was executed at these premises and a consignment was seized containing 180 packages suspected to be drugs. Of these packages 168 are believed to be 1-kilo amounts of cocaine. The other 12 packages have yet to have their contents established.

Subsequently the woman was charged with conspiracy to supply Class A and Class C drugs, namely Cocaine and Cannabis.

Continued investigation lead to the arrest of a 41-yr-old man from Stoke Newington earlier this month in connection with the investigation and on 26/7/04 he was charged with similar offences.

Investigations continue to identify the source of these drugs and others who may have been concerned in their supply throughout London and the Home Counties. Borough Officers are now being assisted in this task by the Specialist Crime Directorate at New Scotland Yard.

Detective Inspector Mick O’Connell who is leading the investigation said: “This operation proves that a timely response to targeted intelligence at a local level, utilising enthusiastic professional borough officers can lead to a significant disruption to organised criminality at both a national and international level.

The was the largest seizure of cocaine the Met has made since records began 10 years ago. Officers said believe it to be the biggest ever..

In a separate case Roy Finn, aged 43 years , of 29 Carlyle Road, Ealing, will be appeared in custody at Staines Magistrates Court charged importing 10 kilos of cocaine into the UK (with an estimated street value of £663,000). He was one of twelve people arrested in connection with the offence.

July 28, 2004