Two Irish people were tonight being quizzed by detectives who smashed a €130m drugs trafficking operation in the UK.
The pair – understood to be long term residents in England – were arrested during Scotland Yard’s biggest ever simultaneous raid on 28 properties across London and the Home Counties.
More than 500 police officers took part in the operation which targeted one of the UK’s largest cocaine and cannabis rings.
An estimated 220lb (100kg) of suspected cocaine, cash and several firearms were seized.
A total of 22 people were arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking and money laundering. They included suspects of British, Irish, Israeli, Iraqi, and Egyptian backgrounds.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was not involved with the incident.
The raids followed more than six months of surveillance and information gathering by Scotland Yard’s elite specialist intelligence section.
Detective Superintendent Steve Richardson, who was responsible for the operation, said they were the final blow to dismantle the network.
At the luxury home of one of the suspected kingpins of the multi-million euro cocaine empire, officers used a mechanical digger to smash a hole in a wall surrounding the fortified €4m property.
Several vehicles, including two Mercedes, a Hummer and a four-wheel drive Porsche parked outside were seized.
The detective revealed that more than 20 people had been arrested prior to today, causing “chaos” within the gang.
Police have also already seized almost €4m in cash, 70kg (155lb) of cocaine with a street value of €670,000 and four guns, including one with a silencer.
Detectives said they believed a business had been used as a front for a “massive criminal enterprise” which involved laundering money from the proceeds of trafficking in cocaine and cannabis.
Police said the gang used a taxi business, based in a shabby corrugated iron and breezeblock building, as their headquarters.
Officers said up to €4.3m passed through the innocuous taxi company every week as it also operated as a legitimate business.