Twenty-six charged following ‘biggest ever’ drugs probe

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Twenty-six suspects are to appear before magistrates next week following a huge police investigation to target organised drug gangs.

Following raids across the county earlier this year, 24 men and two women were this week charged with conspiracy to supply high-purity class A cocaine.

They will appear at Northampton Magistrates’ Court on Monday and Tuesday.

The ages of those charged range from a 22-year-old man to a 53-year-old woman.

Seventeen of the men charged are from Northamptonshire and one is from Cambridgeshire. The remaining six men and two women are from Hampshire.

One of the men from Hampshire has also been charged with possession of a prohibited weapon.

The charges follow coordinated police raids in April, when officers swooped on 16 addresses in Northamptonshire, along with 18 properties across Cambridgeshire and 13 in Hampshire.

The operation involved more than 150 officers from Northamptonshire Police.

They were linked to raids and arrests in Northamptonshire and Hampshire in December last year, in what is “one of the largest drugs operations ever undertaken by Northamptonshire Police”.

Warrants were executed in Northampton, Earls Barton, Burton Latimer, Corby and Wilby.

Speaking in April, Detective Inspector Mark Brayfield, of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit for Serious Organised Crime, said: “These raids are the culmination of a long-term drugs conspiracy investigation by Northamptonshire Police, in conjunction with regional colleagues in Cambridgeshire and Hampshire, to stop class A drugs being sold in our counties.

“We believe there are organised crime groups responsible for much of the supply of drugs in the county and we are determined to continue our efforts to root them out and cut off the wider criminality and anti-social behaviour associated with supplying drugs.”