SOLDIERS from the Queen’s bodyguard were arrested over a suspected cocaine racket — just days before they were due to lead the Platinum Jubilee parade.
Six serving members of the Irish Guards were held on suspicion of dealing the Class A drug and running a loan shark operation.
The elite troops, whose Colonel-in-Chief is Prince William, had been due to lead the Trooping the Colour in red tunics and bearskins in front of Her Majesty on Thursday.
The guards were nicked on Wednesday in dawn raids in Hants, Berks, North Wales and Northern Ireland.
A former sergeant from the Coldstream Guards was also nabbed.
The group are suspected of dealing in cocaine and organising a loan shark operation.
It is alleged they were lending money at extortionate rates, collecting debts and laundering cash.
Five of the seven suspects were released on bail.
The other two were held by Red Cap Royal Military Police who led the investigation, said to have taken several months.
A source at Mons Barracks in Aldershot, Hants, where the 1st Battalion Irish Guards are based, said: “They came in like the DEA (US Drug Enforcement Administration) — kicking down doors.
“There was no warning. We were told they had been planning the operation for months.
“It wasn’t just the barracks. They searched the soldiers’ homes off base. It’s all come as a huge shock.”
The Ministry of Defence said: “As part of a planned operation, the Royal Military Police arrested six Irish Guards soldiers and a Coldstream Guardsman veteran on suspicion of conspiracy to supply drugs and money lending and laundering offences.
“As this is now the subject of an independent Royal Military Police investigation, it is inappropriate to comment further.”