Nine Thanet arrests among 42 made in ‘county lines’ drug network crackdown

Police raid (stock image)

Firearms, a bag containing £50,000 and a three kilogram package of heroin have been seized during the latest search warrants to tackle drug gangs and county lines networks in Kent.

A total of 42 people were arrested after 38 properties were searched at addresses across the county as well as in London, Surrey and Sussex. The warrants took place over two days in areas including Thanet, Medway towns, Folkestone, Ashford, Tonbridge and Maidstone, during a coordinated operation involving 150 officers and with the assistance of the Metropolitan Police Service and British Transport Police.

Yesterday (March 11), 350 wraps were seized from an address in Dane Road, Margate after officers entered at 5.30am. Three people were arrested. Six people were also arrested in Trove Court, Newcastle Hill, Ramsgate where 130 wraps were recovered.

At the same time simultaneous raids were carried out at addresses in London, also linked to the supply of drugs in Kent. These resulted in further arrests, in areas including Mitcham and Brockley.

The crackdown continued today, when three kilograms of Class A drugs were seized from a property in Goose Close, Chatham and where a man was arrested. Nearby, in Magpie Hall Road officers entered an address and found around £50,000 in cash stuffed into a rucksack, while in Solomon Road, Rainham more money, as well as supplies of cocaine were seized. A man linked to both addresses was arrested.

In London, a handgun, live ammunition and large quantities of heroin and amphetamine were recovered from a flat in Federation Road, Abbey Wood. One man was arrested. Meanwhile, in Orpington a woman was detained after two imitation firearms were found in a car linked to an address in Lower Road.

’39 active county line networks in Kent’

Chief Constable Alan Pughsley said: “There are currently around 39 active county line networks in Kent which are being operated mainly from London, but by continuing to target and disrupt the gangs responsible my officers are making it much harder for them to establish a foothold.

“Those associated with gangs think nothing of the violence and misery they bring to our communities, however they should know that our knowledge and intelligence around their activities is comprehensive and growing rapidly. As these warrants show it is only a matter of time before these criminals are arrested and left facing lengthy prison sentences.

“I would like to further reassure residents that we are investing significantly in the number of police officers dedicated to tackling county lines and a coordinated approach with our partners, including other forces, is key to identifying and bringing to justice not only the street dealers, but those higher up the chain who are orchestrating the significant supplies of heroin and crack cocaine. Please also remember that your help remains vital. You can be our eyes and ears, so if you see anything suspicious call 101, or 999 if a crime is in progress.”