TWO men from Dewsbury appeared in court charged on suspicion of smuggling drugs worth billions of pounds into the UK.
Vojtech Dano, 38, and Ivan Turtak, 34, both of Vulcan Gardens in the Flatts area of Dewsbury, face four charges of conspiring to import class A drugs and four charges of conspiring to import class B drugs.
They were part of a gang of 13 men arrested in dawn raids across the country last week in an operation by the National Crime Agency. Police said the suspected international crime group smuggled in an estimated 50 tons of heroin, cocaine and cannabis hidden in fruit juice and vegetables in lorries from the Netherlands.
The men, from Leeds, Manchester, Stockport, St Helens, Warrington, Bolton and London, appeared at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
Of the 13, eight defendants were remanded into custody until the next hearing at Manchester Crown Court on Thursday November 7. They are Ifthikar Hussain, 46, of Leeds; Paul Green, 54, of St Helens; Sohail Qureshi, 59, of White City in London; Mohammed Ovais, 41, of Burnage in Manchester; Khaleed Vazeer, 56, of Timperley in Manchester; Steven Martin, 48, of Bolton; Mark Peers, 55, of Warrington; and Oliver Penter, 37, of Stockport.
Dano and Turtak were among the five others released on bail under strict conditions that they surrender their passports, check in at a local police station between midday and 2pm on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, do not enter an airport, seaport or international train station and remain under curfew at their homes between 7pm and 7am.
The rest are Ghazanfar Mahmood, 48, of Bolton; Andrew Reilly, 37, of St Helens; and Paul Ruane, 38, of Warrington.
All 13 will go on trial on November 7.
Four men and two women from the Netherlands, who were arrested by Dutch police on European Arrest Warrants in April, are awaiting extradition to the UK.