DAWN raids led to 15 arrests during a nationwide police operation to tackle drug dealing.
About 200 police officers, including a team from the National Crime Agency (NCA), swooped on homes in West Rainton, South Hetton, Thornley and Sherburn, as well as Leeds, Liverpool, Shropshire and Manchester shortly after 6am yesterday.
Operation Russett has led to 12 men, all aged between 24 and 49, two women, aged mid-twenties to early thirties, and a youth being arrested for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
Detective Sgt Nicola Lawrence said: “The arrests are as a result of a long running, proactive police investigation aimed at disrupting those suspected of being involved in the supply of drugs.”
Chief Inspector Elaine Taylor, from Durham’s Response command, added “This is the largest intelligence-led operation that Durham Constabulary has ever been involved in.
“The operation has seen arrests made in Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Market Drayton as well as on the outskirts of Durham City; we will not tolerate criminals operating in this force area.”
Cannabis, amphetamine and three vehicles were seized during the operation and a large amount of drugs and other evidence have been previously secured during this investigation.
The RSPCA has been contacted after the discovery of a puppy farm at an address in Durham.