Leeds man one of 13 to appear in court charged with importing drugs worth billions

A man from Leeds accused of being a member of Britain's biggest ever drug smuggling gang has appeared in court.

Thursday, 10th October 2019, 5:18 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th October 2019, 6:16 pm
Drugs seized by the NCA.

Ifthikar Hussain, 46, of Upland Grove, Oakwood, is one of 13 men charged with conspiracy to import class A and class B drugs and appeared at Manchester and Salford Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

Two men from Dewsbury have also been charged.

They were arrested in dawn raids across the country on Tuesday in an operation by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Drugs seized by the NCA.

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The NCA said the gang was part of an international organised crime group and Britain's biggest drug smuggling operation ever uncovered.

Arrests were made in London, Manchester, Stockport, St Helens, Warrington, Bolton, Dewsbury, and Leeds.

Seven defendants were remanded into custody, the NCA said.

They are:

Paul Green, 54, of Eccleston, St Helens

Sohail Quereshi, 59, of Wood Crescent, White City, London

Mohammed Ovais, 41, of Bournlee Avenue, Burnage, Manchester

Khaleed Vazeer, 56, of Westwood Avenue, Timperley, Manchester

Steven Martin, 48, of Chorley Old Road, Bolton

Mark Peers, 55, of Norbeck Close, Warrington

Oliver Penter, 37, of Gladstone Street, Stockport

Six others were released on bail.

They are:

Vojtech Dano, 38, of Vulcan Gardens, Dewsbury

Ivan Turtak, 34, of Vulcan Gardens, Dewsbury

Ghazanfar Mahmood, 48, of Green Lane, Bolton

Andrew Reilly, 37, of Grange Park Road, St Helens

Paul Ruane, 58, of Bewsey Rd, Warrington

All 13 are next due to appear at Manchester Crown Court, Crown Square, on Thursday November 7.

Four men and two women from the Netherlands, who were arrested in April by the Dutch National Police on European Arrest Warrants, are currently awaiting extradition to the UK.