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Drug gangs are targeted.

Byline: ANDREW PAIN andrew.pain@eveninggazette.co.uk

SUSPECTED organised criminals on Teesside were targeted as part of a major police operation following a PS5m drugs recovery.

Three warrants were executed which led to the arrest of two women and one man in the Cleveland force area.

A woman and man were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs and money laundering offences and a woman was arrested on suspicion of money laundering.

All three were questioned at Middlesbrough police station and have now been bailed.

Officers also executed warrants at addresses in Jarrow, Durham, Nottingham and Northampton and made further arrests.

More than 60 detectives, uniformed officers and specialist staff took part in Operation Patton, a North East Regional Organised Crime Unit investigation targeting organised crime gangs operating in the North-east with criminal links to other force areas.

The operation began with officers recovering PS5m of drugs in January this year from a storage unit in North Yorkshire.

Two men are currently awaiting sentence. Throughout the operation officers have also recovered PS450,000 in cash.

North East Regional Organised Crime Unit Detective Inspector Paul Colling said: "This operation has been planned for some time and demonstrates the coordinated law enforcement approach to tackling serious and organised crime within the north east region in relation to the supply and distribution of illegal drugs and money laundering that allows criminal businesses to operate." Officers from Cleveland Police's local neighbourhood policing teams have been providing reassurance to any concerned residents.

Meanwhile a cannabis farm of 400 plants with a potential street value of more than PS160,000 has been busted by police in Eston in an unrelated raid.

Officers swooped on a property on Tawney Road yesterday morning.

Detective Sergeant Nigel McCartney, of the Redcar and Cleveland Drugs Unit, said: "Members of the public are encouraged to contact us, should they have any information regarding drugs activity."

A 19-year-old man was arrested at the scene. He has been charged with producing a Class B drug and is due before Teesside Magistrates' Court today.
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jun 5, 2013
Words:347
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