Women arrested after Sunderland raids in connection with suspected drug ring smuggling into HMP Durham

Four women have been arrested as a police investigation continues over a suspected drug ring operating in a North East prison.

Thursday, 19th September 2019, 1:35 pm
£1,500 in cash and two drones were recovered from the raids. Photo: Northumbria Police

Officers launched an investigation earlier this year after receiving reports of drug dealing taking place in HMP Durham.

It was reported that the drugs were suspected to have been transported into prison during visits and through the use of drones.

On Wednesday, September 18, a multi-force operation was launched by officers from Northumbria, Cleveland and West Yorkshire police with the Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART).

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A series of dawn raids took place at addresses across Sunderland and Teesside and a total of £1,500 in cash and two drones were recovered.

Four women, aged 20, 31, 32 and 62, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with the suspected drug dealing.

Detective Sergeant Tommy Maughan from the North East RART said: “We are committed to working alongside our partners to make sure those involved in serious and organised crime are pursued.

“Our message is clear – this type of activity will not be tolerated and anyone involved will be actively pursued by authorities and could even find themselves behind bars.

“Under the banner of Operation Sentinel, our joined up approach to tackling serious and organised crime across the region, we will continue to pursue offenders, bring them to justice and look to seize all assets associated with their illicit activity.”

The police investigation alongside Her Majesty’s Prison Service is ongoing and the four women remain in police custody at this time.