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Operation Karate moves to court
FOURTEEN men are due to appear in court charged with drug offences following a high profile drugs operation in Northwich and Merseyside.
The 14 men, who were arrested in May as part of Operation Karate, will appear before Chester Crown Court charged with the supply of Class A drugs.
They were arrested as part of a series of dawn raids to target the suspected use and supply of drugs in Northwich and Merseyside.
More than 300 officers were involved in the operation and executed drugs raids and searches at 23 premises across Northwich, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Dyfed Powys.
Mark Zakrweski, 30, of Chester Road, Northwich, is due in court on Wednesday, September 4, having previously pleaded not guilty to supplying Class A drugs.
Steven Gibson, 55, of Highfield Place, Northwich and Paul Christopher Taylor, 38, of Harrisons Place will appear at Chester Crown on Friday, September 13, after pleading not guilty to possession with intent to supply.
Taylor will also appear at Chester Crown on October 17 after pleading guilty to the supply of Class A drugs.
A further 11 men, who have all pleaded guilty to supplying Class A drugs, will appear at court on October 17.
They are Michael Smith, 37, of Romanes Street; Mark Higgins, 38, of Beeston Street; Peter Gibson, 54, of Highfield Place; Scott Powell, 20, of Needham Road, Liverpool; Craig Wright, 40, of St John’s Close; Michael Barrow, 28, of Victoria Road; Matthew Evans, 18, of Danefield Road; Darren Ashcroft, 33, John Bloor, 36 and Sean Fagan, 20, who are currently in custody at HMP Altcourse and; Alfie Milligan, 24, who is currently in custody at HMP Forest Bank.
Chief Inspector Richard Rees, of Cheshire Police, said: “Illegal drugs can have a significant impact on local communities and is an issue we have always taken extremely seriously.
“We devote all the resources we can to tracing those responsible for drug use and supply to help improve the quality of life for our residents affected by this type of criminality.
“Similarly, for those arrested and processed through the criminal justice system, the constabulary will do all we can to ensure justice is served while offering individuals the opportunity to rehabilitate and seek support for their drug problem.
"It is important that we continue to work in partnership with local people and other agencies to ensure that all the knock-on effects of drugs misuse are dealt with. We cannot stress how important information from members of the public is in the fight against drug related crime."