England

Nine arrested in £18m West Midlands drugs seize

Coventry's city centre
Image caption Coventry was one of several towns and cities where raids were carried out, police say

Nine men have been arrested and class A and B drugs with a street value of more than £18m have been seized from addresses across the West Midlands.

Staffordshire Police said it made the arrests in two separate, unrelated investigations on Wednesday.

The force raided homes in Lichfield, Burntwood, Rugeley and Cheadle in Staffordshire, Coventry and Birmingham.

Two men - one from Leeds and one from Rotterdam - have been charged and are due to appear in court, police said.

In one operation, carried out in Cheadle in the Staffordshire Moorlands, officers stopped two vehicles on the A52 on Wednesday morning.

A search of the vehicles resulted in the discovery of approximately 40kg of suspected Class A drugs.

Heroin with an estimated street value of £15m, and cocaine with an estimated street value of £3m was found.

As a result of this operation, the force said it had charged two men.

Barry Briggs, 43, from Seaforth Grove in Leeds, is charged with possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of class A - heroin.

Dave Vandeven, 29, from Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, is charged with two counts of being concerned in the fraudulent importing of a class A drug.

They are due before magistrates in Newcastle.

A second operation saw officers execute seven warrants at properties in Lichfield, Burntwood, Rugeley, Coventry and Birmingham.

Cannabis with an estimated street value of £125,000 was seized in the Lichfield area.

Following the raids, seven men were arrested in connection with drugs offences.

Police said they had all been bailed, pending further inquiries.

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