The National Crime Agency seized £38m in drugs smuggled into UK ports in vegetable lorries.
Thirteen men have been arrested on suspicion of smuggling drugs worth millions of pounds into the UK.
The men, aged between 24 and 59, were arrested in London, Manchester, Stockport, St Helens, Warrington, Bolton, Dewsbury and Leeds, suspected of smuggling drugs through UK ports over an 18-month period between February 2017 and October 2018.
Authorities believe they belong to the UK arm of a group which uses Dutch and British front companies to import heroin, cocaine and cannabis by hiding them in lorry loads of vegetables and juice.
The drug trafficking operation came to light in September 2018, when three consignments were intercepted. They contained 351kg of cocaine, 92kg of heroin, 250kg of cannabis and 1,850kg of hemp/hashish. The street value of the drugs was £38m.
The NCA said “We suspect these men were involved in an industrial-scale operation – the biggest ever uncovered in the UK – bringing in tonnes of deadly drugs that were distributed to crime groups throughout the country.