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.
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).
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.
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.
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.