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Larne man jailed after £10m drug seizure

Haul included 52,475 'E' tablets

Published 11/09/2004

A LARNE man was a member of a gang who ran an international drugs racket involving narcotics with a street value of almost £10m, a court in England has heard.

A LARNE man was a member of a gang who ran an international drugs racket involving narcotics with a street value of almost £10m, a court in England has heard.

Canterbury Crown Court was told how Ronald Kelso (34), from Seahill Road, Larne, who was jailed for six-and-a-half years, was one of six men involved in the importation and distribution of Class A and B drugs.

Kelso and his co-defendants - from Manchester and North Wales - were given jail terms ranging from five to eight and a half years.

The arrests were the result of an operation by the Merseyside Police Force Crime Operations Unit run in partnership with the National Crime Squad, Customs and Excise and Kent Constabulary.

The six men were arrested on an industrial estate outside Dover, on Friday, December 12.

It followed the recovery of 52,475 Ecstasy tablets and 266 kilos of amphetamines and cannabis, with a total street value of £9.7m.

The drugs were concealed in a heavy goods vehicle that arrived on a ferry from France.

Det Chief Insp Mark Wadmore said: "This was a significant seizure which will have a major impact on the supply of drugs in Merseyside and the UK.

"Merseyside Police is commited to taking Class A drugs off the street and cracking down on organised crime on Merseyside and we will continue to keep up the pressure on criminals who blight the lives of our communities.

"These arrests send out a clear message to those involved in the distribution of drugs. The actions of those involved in organised crime and drug trafficking, which has a detrimental effect on our communities and throughout Britain, will not be tolerated."

Det Chief Insp John Francis of the National Crime Squad said: "The street value of the drugs seized was phenomenal and these people had no qualms about flooding the streets of the North West of England with drugs for their own financial gain.

"Their criminal enterprise was severely disrupted thanks to different law enforcement agencies - the National Crime Squad, Merseyside Police, Kent Police, North Wales Police and Her Majesty's Customs and Excise - all working together in successful partnership to bring to justice those involved in serious and organised drugs trafficking."

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