Five-month undercover county lines drug sting leads to 53 arrests

Fifty-three people have been arrested after a five-month undercover investigation into a drug dealing network thought to be responsible for 33 county lines.

Metropolitan Police officers held 47 men and six women, aged 16 to 48, during raids carried out over six weeks, including warrants in Greenwich and Bexley, south-east London, as well as Kent and the Thames Valley.

A total of £63,000 in cash, about 320 grams of crack cocaine, 150 grams of heroin and a quantity of cannabis were seized, along with various weapons including four guns, knuckledusters and knives.

Rolex watches worth £40,000 and two cars with a combined value of £45,000 were also found.

The suspects arrested were held on suspicion of various offences including possession of firearms and ammunition; possession of offensive weapons; possession of criminal property; possession with intent to supply class A and B drugs, and supply of class A and B drugs.

Two young people who are believed to have been exploited by the gang have been safeguarded as a result of the investigation.

Detective Inspector Jo Gresham said: “Operations like this one, which disrupt county lines drug supply and dealing and target the criminal exploitation of vulnerable people, are vital because we know that this type of criminality drives a high proportion of violent crime in London.”

County lines are phone lines run by drug dealers, predominantly in urban areas, who use young and vulnerable people as couriers to take illegal substances to customers in more rural parts of the country.

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