Manchester

Charges in Greater Manchester after mephedrone drug raids

A company director is one of eight people charged with drug dealing by officers investigating a £3.8m internet-based drugs ring.

Eleven properties in Bolton, Bury, north Manchester and Salford were searched on Wednesday.

The regional organised crime squad said it was the biggest operation against the sale of the banned drug mephedrone.

Paula White, 44, a director of Chester City football club, is also charged with money laundering.

Seven other people have been charged with conspiracy to supply drugs with one other also charged with money laundering.

They will all appear at Bolton Magistrates' Court later.

A 29-year-old woman who was arrested on suspicion of supply of controlled drugs and money laundering has been bailed pending further inquiries, police said.

Police are investigating the alleged sale of about 313kg of mephedrone with the seven-figure street value through a Bolton-based website, which is no longer operating.

"Meow meow" or "M-cat" is the common name for mephedrone, which until 2010 was legal to buy but not to consume as a drug.

It was made an offence to supply, or to be in possession of mephedrone, after use of the drug became increasingly widespread among clubbers.

It has been linked to a number of deaths.

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