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Seven arrests after drugs raids to target high harm offenders

News   •   Oct 29, 2020 11:05 GMT

[An arrest being made during this morning's raids]

Officers have made seven arrests following early morning raids in South London and Kent to disrupt drugs and associated violence.

On Thursday, 29 October officers from the Violent Crime Taskforce carried out seven warrants at 05:00hrs in an operation to apprehend individuals involved in county lines drugs supply.

They were supported by officers from South Area BCU, the Territorial Support Group and colleagues from Kent Police.

The warrants were the culmination of an investigation into county lines drugs supply that began in May. Detectives believe the individuals arrested this morning have been exploiting young people to courier drugs out of London. Those arrested were classed a high harm offenders where they have links to violence or have a violent background.

Officers have implemented safeguarding measures around any victims of exploitation, along with partners and the local authority.

The operation resulted in:

- Seven arrests for offences including conspiracy to supply class A drugs, possession of criminal property and modern slavery;
- Around £20,000 cash seized;
- Class A and B drugs found;
- A knife was recovered during a search of an address in South Norwood.

Detective Constable Ray Sekalongo, of the VCTF investigation team, said: “There is undoubtedly a link between drugs and violence and this investigation proves that.

“Those arrested this morning as part of our drive to apprehend high harm offenders are gang members or have links to gangs, they are incredibly dangerous and cause destruction in our communities.

“We will continue to work closely with colleagues from other forces, partner agencies and the community to dismantle drug dealing networks. Tackling violence is our top priority.

“This enhanced activity to target wanted individuals linked to violence was born out of the pandemic and continues as part of the annual Autumn Nights campaign.

“Working together, we are acting on information provided to us by the public and partner agencies to target those involved in this illegal activity that has a hugely detrimental effect on the quality of life for the law-abiding community.

“I urge anyone, if something doesn’t feel right – it may not be. If you have information about any criminality in your area to contact police, or Crimestoppers, so that we can take proactive action - your information is invaluable to us and could help a child or vulnerable person.”

Breakdown of arrests:

- A 26-year-old man from Lambeth was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs and modern slavery;
- A 22-year-old man from South Norwood was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs and modern slavery;
- A 18-year-old man from Lambeth was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs and modern slavery;
- A 22-year-old man from Croydon was arrested on suspicion of being in possession of criminal property and possession of cannabis;
- A 19-year-old man from Croydon was arrested on suspicion of possession of Class A with intent and possession of criminal property;
- A 21-year-old woman from Chatham, Kent was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs;
- A 40-year-old man from Chatham, Kent was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.

They all remain in police custody while the investigation continues.

+ Even through this challenging pandemic officers across the Met have remained committed to tackling violence and as part of this, bringing those intent on peddling drugs to justice.

We are not complacent and would like to hear from anyone who has information about crime, those who carry a weapon, or those who exploit others for gain or revenge, while putting young people’s lives at risk.

Community intelligence can be used to great effect to not only detect, but also prevent crime, keep London safe and save young lives. If you don’t want to speak to the police, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They are a totally independent charity and you will remain 100% anonymous - they never ask your name and they cannot trace your call, your IP address or the device you use. Alternatively, visit their website.

If you are worried about someone you suspect may be carrying a knife or other weapon, advice and support is also available through organisations including Knife Free and Fearless