A woman in her 20s and a 36-year-old man from Whitchurch have been arrested on suspicion of importing of illegal drugs

The two arrests were part of a greater series of dawn raids across Shropshire, Cheshire and North Wales.

In total eight men and two women were arrested, including the pair from Whitchurch, aged 25 to 61, on Thursday, February 18 after warrants were executed at addresses in Whitchurch, Chester, Saltney, Frodsham and Tarporley.

They have all been arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply and importation of Class B drugs (cannabis) and money laundering.

All 10 are currently in custody being questioned by officers.

The arrests follow an investigation spanning almost a year by detectives from Chester CID into the alleged importation of Class B drugs.

Detective Sergeant Stuart Needham, of Chester CID said the investigations had been ongoing since April last year.

"The operation today is the result of a complex investigation into the importation of illegal drugs on what can only be described as an industrial scale," said DS Needham.

"The investigation was launched in April 2020 when officers intercepted a number of packages, which were all bound for the same address in Helsby.

"We believe that these drugs are linked to an organised crime gang who have been importing from America for sale across the UK."

A large amount of cash was recovered by officers during the warrants.

Following the raids officers will be out and about on patrol providing reassurance to the community.

Chief Inspector Gareth Wrigley from Chester Local Policing Unit added: "Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the team here at Chester we have been able to disrupt the supply of illegal drugs. However, this is not an issue we can tackle alone.

"Information from the public is vital and I would urge anyone with any concerns in relation to illegal drug use in their community to get in touch on 101 or visit https://www.cheshire.police.uk/ro/report"

Meanwhile Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane praised the officers involved, saying: "Preventing and protecting Cheshire's communities from serious and organised crime has been a key focus of my Police and Crime Plan and I would like to thank all of the officers and staff involved in this operation.

"The corrosive effect that illegal drugs have on our communities is well known and I have no doubt that today's warrants will go some way to help make Cheshire a safer place for everyone."

Information can also be reported anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.