Three charged after cocaine and crystal meth worth up to £11million seized in operation involving North East police forces

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Three men have been charged after cocaine and crystal meth with an estimated street value of up to £11million were seized in a major police operation across the North East.

Officers from two North East forces, assisted by the region’s special operations unit, carried out a number of vehicle stops yesterday, Thursday, February 24, under the banner of Operation Sentinel as part of a continued and determined crackdown on serious and organised crime.

Detectives from Northumbria Police, with the support of colleagues from Cleveland Police and the North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU), carried out three separate co-ordinated vehicle stops in Cleveland and North Yorkshire, following up on tip-offs in relation to suspected drugs offences.

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Officers searched three vehicles and discovered a total of 50kg of cocaine and 30kg of crystal meth – one of the biggest seizures of its kind ever made in the region.

Part of the haulPart of the haul
Part of the haul

Now Benard Runaj, 42, of Oldenwood Road, Maidenhead, has been charged with being concerned in the supply of cocaine and possession with intent to supply cocaine; Gentjan Dervishaj,31, of Chelmsford, Essex, with being concerned in the supply of cocaine and possession with intent to supply cocaine and Khalid Raheem, 35, of Edwins Close, Barnsley, with being concerned in the supply of cocaine and possession with intent to supply Crystal Meth.

All three are due to appear at Newcastle Crown Court tomorrow morning, Saturday February 26.

Detective Inspector Marc Michael, from Northumbria Police, said: “This is another fantastic outcome where officers have been able to seize a significant amount of drugs from suspected dealers.

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“This type of activity forms part of our ongoing commitment to tackle serious and organised crime through our dedicated initiative Operation Sentinel.

“We know the harmful impact illegal drugs can have on individuals and our wider communities.

“We will continue to target anyone suspected of being involved in organised crime and stop them in their tracks to ensure our communities remain safe and the most vulnerable are protected.”

Anyone who has information about criminality in their area is asked to contact police via the Northumbria or Cleveland Force websites or by calling 101. Alternatively you can pass on information via independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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