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Unveiling the £250m drug network nestled in a tranquil Welsh farm

A serene Welsh farm tucked away in the tranquility of north Wales countryside has been exposed as a hub for a massive international drug operation worth £250 million, police authorities have revealed. The Tirlas Goch farm in Deeside was the nerve centre of an elaborate drug smuggling and distribution network that funnelled tens of millions of pounds worth of Class A drugs into the UK.

In a significant blow to organised crime, law enforcement officers seized heroin and cocaine valued at approximately £64 million during a raid on the remote property, marking the largest-ever confiscation of its kind in the UK. A special unit of the police force disclosed that dismantling the drug ring responsible for importing £250 million worth of narcotics would resonate throughout the country.

Four individuals linked to the operation, engaged in the importation of cocaine and heroin from Europe hidden within trailers, have received prison sentences totaling 55 years after pleading guilty to serious drug offences, confirmed the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NWROC).

Detective Chief Superintendent Ian Whitehead, leading the NWROC, spoke out regarding the case, emphasising its impact on the landscape of organised crime in the UK. He stated, “Nobody is untouchable in that world. For those higher echelon criminals that think they are untraceable, undetectable, we will seek to bring them to justice.”

The investigation unveiled a meticulous operation orchestrated from Dubai with connections stretching to South America. The masterminds behind the operation utilised a disabled driver, Guy Remington from Herefordshire, who traversed France, Belgium, and Holland via the Eurotunnel, concealing drugs within an empty trailer towed by his disability car.

Upon returning to the UK, Remington would rendezvous with Luke Hirst at the Deeside farm, where the drugs were extracted from a concealed compartment behind the wooden panels of his trailer. Hirst, a key figure in the organised crime group, facilitated the distribution of multi-kilo quantities of cocaine on an industrial scale, meeting customers discreetly at nearby service stations or designated spots to avoid detection.

The operation came crashing down during Remington’s final drug run to Europe, as police intervened while he was unloading drugs at Hirst’s farm in September 2023, culminating in the dismantling of their multi-million-pound drug empire.

Following thorough searches, NWROC officers seized a substantial amount of cash, 505kg of cocaine, and 108kg of heroin from Remington’s vehicle and the farm, estimated to be worth between £15-21 million wholesale. Hirst was apprehended later that day, leading to further seizures of cash and assets from associated individuals and premises.

Additional arrests were made in Liverpool and Leatherhead, resulting in the incarceration of Thomas Smith and Morgan Towner, both involved in the distribution network.

Clockwise, from top left: Morgan Towner, Luke Hirst, Thomas Smith and Guy Remington

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Luke Hirst received a 12-year prison sentence for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, while Guy Remington was sentenced to seven years for conspiracy to import and supply Class A drugs. Thomas Smith, a significant supplier based in Liverpool, received an 18-year sentence, and Morgan Towner, a courier from Leatherhead, was sentenced to seven years.

Reflecting on the sentencing, an NWROC spokesperson commended the efforts of law enforcement in dismantling the sophisticated criminal operation. They reiterated their commitment to pursuing those who flout the law and expressed gratitude to partner forces for their support throughout the investigation.