Maidenhead man charged following £11million drugs bust in Northumbria

Shay Bottomley

shayb@baylismedia.co.uk
Maidenhead man charged following £11million drugs bust

A man from Maidenhead has been charged in connection with an £11million drugs bust by Northumbria Police.

Bernard Runaj, 42, of Altwood Road, appeared in Newcastle Magistrates’ Court on Saturday where he pleaded not guilty to the supply of cocaine and possession with intent to supply cocaine.

Runaj was one of three to appear in court in relation to the incident.

Gentjan Dervishaj, 31, of Haig Court, Chelmsford, Essex, also pleaded not guilty to the supply of cocaine and possession with intent to supply cocaine.

Khalid Rahim, 35, of Edwins Close, Barnsley, entered no plea to the supply of cocaine and possession with intent to supply crystal meth.

They will appear in Newcastle Crown Court on Monday, March 28.

Northumbria Police hailed the bust as ‘one of the largest seizures of its kind in the North East’ on Friday afternoon.

On Thursday, officers from Northumbria Police alongside colleagues from Cleveland Police and North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU) carried out three separate co-ordinated vehicle stops in Cleveland and North Yorkshire following intelligence relating to suspected drugs offences.

Upon searching the vehicles, police discovered a total of 50kg of cocaine and 30kg of crystal meth.

Detective Inspector Marc Michael, from Northumbria Police, who oversaw the strike operation, said: “This is another fantastic outcome where officers have been able to seize a significant amount of drugs from suspected dealers.

“This type of activity forms part of our ongoing commitment to tackle serious and organised crime through our dedicated initiative Operation Sentinel.

“We know the harmful impact illegal drugs can have on individuals and our wider communities.

“We will continue to target anyone suspected of being involved in organised crime and stop them in their tracks to ensure our communities remain safe and the most vulnerable are protected.”

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