Seven arrested as police target drugs and money laundering in dawn swoops
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“Thud, thud, thud,” the impact echoes through the darkness. “Go, go, go. Police, police, police..!”
Officers storm the house as the battering ram smashes the door off its hinges.
“Ground floor clear,” one shouts, as the lights go on and the raiding party take stock of the scene.
One man is led away in handcuffs from the remote barn conversion almost two miles from the nearest road, as the search begins.
There were similar scenes at 10 homes and businesses across west Norfolk which were raided simultaneously in the pre-dawn drizzle.
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Officers carried out warrants at Lower Farm Road in East Winch, Riverview Way, Friesian Way, Hamlin Way, Bryggen Road, Hamlin Way and the Saturday Market Place in King’s Lynn, Chapel Road in Pott Row, the A47 at Hillington and Back Lane and St James Green in Castle Acre.
Officers forced entry to a property in Riverview Way where two women aged 23 and 48 and a 50-year-old man were arrested on suspicion of money laundering.
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Enquiries led them to arrest a 24-year-old man at a property in Edward Benefer Way on suspicion of money laundering while a 30-year-old man was detained at an address in Lower Farm Road, East Winch, on suspicion of money laundering and being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.
The sixth arrest was made at an address in Chapel Road, Pott Row, where a 31-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of money laundering.
Further enquiries resulted in a 34-year-old man being detained on suspicion of money laundering in King George V Avenue.
At a briefing before the operation got under way, the team of more than 60 officers taking part were told their targets were suspected of being involved in Class A drug dealing and laundering the proceeds.
“What appear to be legitimate businesses are being used to legitimise the proceeds of drug dealing,” one of the team leading the swoop said.
He added the objective was to arrest individuals believed to be involved in the illicit trade and gather intelligence.
Those taking part were reminded to wear gloves and masks once the entry teams in full body armour had smashed their way in.
“In the event of anyone claiming they’re positive for Covid, we’ll deal with that on a job by job basis,” the briefing concluded.
One team made their way in convoy down a rutted track off the main A47 at East Winch.
After a man was taken into custody, a specialist search team took a fine tooth comb to the brick and carrstone property overlooking open fields, along with Willow, a Labrador-cross search dog.
Designer trainers, a quantity of cash and other small items were packed in carefully-labelled evidence bags.
As the dog got to work, a Porsche SUV and Mercedes car parked outside the property were loaded onto lorries and driven away.
All those detained have been taken to Lynn police investigation centre where they will be questioned. A quantity of cash, vehicles and property has been seized as part of the investigation.
Insp Mark Askham, who led the operation, said: “Today’s activity follows a lengthy investigation into Class A drug dealing and money laundering in the King’s Lynn area.
“We’re committed to tackling illegal drug activity in order to protect communities from the associated crime and anti-social behaviour this can bring.
“All suspects remain in custody and our investigations continue. I would encourage anyone concerned about illegal drug activity or has information about those involved can contact officers in King’s Lynn by calling 101.”