British police have arrested two men in their 50s after discovering heroin worth an estimated £1.2 million (€1.31 million) during raids on three properties in Merseyside.
Detectives from TITAN, the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit, found blocks of heroin weighing a combined 12kgs stashed under floorboards at one property, alongside a black suitcase containing approximately £500,000 in cash.
Officers arrested a 52-year-old man on suspicion of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and money laundering, and later detained a second man, aged 56, after finding £30,000 in cash in his car.
If found guilty, the men face up to life imprisonment, an unlimited fine or both.
They are due to appear at Liverpool, Knowsley and St Helens Adult Remand Court tomorrow after being taken into custody after their arrests.
“TITAN is committed to tackling the blight of drugs on our streets and has already had many successes in disrupting the supply of drugs across the North West,” commented Detective Inspector Nick Hughes.
“We will continue, with the support of police forces across the North West, to target those involved in the supply and distribution of class A drugs and put them behind bars.”
The arrests came after a drug trafficker was jailed for 14 years last week following his detention for attempting to smuggle heroin worth an estimated £11 million into the UK.
Vasil Stoyanov, 30, was caught when Border Force officers searched his Bulgarian lorry, which had arrived at Dover Docks on a ferry from France.
Maidstone Crown Court heard how powdered heroin was discovered in plastic bags concealed in the walls of cardboard boxes containing charcoal that Stoyanov had bought to sell on eBay.
According to the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), the heroin had an estimated wholesale value of £3,192,000, but would likely have fetched some £11,049,100 if sold on street.
Detectives discovered Stoyanov had spent £66,000 on three large orders of charcoal for a return of just £67.
He had been selling boxes of charcoal on the auction site for £3.50 each.
Prosecutor James Norman said Stoyanov’s attempt to smuggle the drugs into Britain had been “carefully and professionally planned as there were millions of pounds at stake”.
Mark Harding, Senior Investigating Officer at the NCA, commented: “Importing charcoal’s always been a dirty business but Stoyanov added a particularly nasty twist, using it as cover for heroin smuggling.
“The seizure by Border Force and the NCA’s investigation means serious organised criminals have lost out on a huge revenue stream and street-level dealers won’t be able to endanger heroin users and the communities in which they live.
“It’s also shut down a smuggling route that could have been used to bring any kind of dangerous commodity into the country.”