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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 February 2008, 16:06 GMT
Drugs raids 'hugely successful'
Police and digger on raid
Police used a digger to break through a wall during one raid
The man in charge of a series of raids across London and the south east said they had delivered a "huge blow" against the illegal drugs industry.

Police raided 30 addresses and arrested 22 people. In one raid a digger was used to smash through a wall.

About 500 police officers were involved and 111 kilograms of cocaine, worth nearly 6m, was seized.

Detective Superintendent Steve Richardson said: "Today's operation has been hugely successful."

We have targeted the key players in a serious and organised criminal network culminating in a huge blow to the illegal drugs industry in the UK
Det Supt Steve Richardson

Police also seized an unspecified amount of cash and a number of guns during the raids at addresses across London, Surrey, Essex, Kent and Hertfordshire.

One of the most significant raids was understood to have taken place at a modest building, made of breezeblock and corrugated iron, which was used by a taxi business.

Det Supt Richardson, who headed Operation Eaglewood, said: "We have targeted the key players in a serious and organised criminal network culminating in a huge blow to the illegal drugs industry in the UK.

"These criminals have been living the lives of wealthy businessmen through criminal activity and today we have put a stop to this. We believe this network has been supplying drugs around the country, earning millions of pounds every week."

He said the network were believed to have laundered around 100m in the last six months, most of it believed to be the proceeds of drug trafficking.

Sledgehammers

At a house in Hillingdon, west London, a police driver used a digger to break through the brick and steel perimeter wall shortly after 0500 GMT as a police helicopter hovered overhead.

Dozens of officers using sledgehammers and angle grinders burst into the house seconds later.

map of London area
The raids took place across London and the south east

A 40-year-old man was arrested and several vehicles, including two Mercedes, a Hummer and a four-wheel drive Porsche parked outside were seized.

At another address in West Molesey, 30 officers burst into a house and searched two cars outside. A 54-year-old man of Egyptian origin was arrested.

Detectives said they believed a business had been used as a front for a massive criminal enterprise which involved laundering money from the proceeds of trafficking in cocaine and cannabis.



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Police burst into a targeted property



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