Nineteen arrested during county lines raids in Kent and London

Contributed by editor on Oct 14, 2018 - 08:55 AM


A county lines crackdown resulted in 19 suspected drug suppliers being arrested in Kent and London.

County lines is the name given to the process by which criminal networks from urban centres expand their activities into smaller towns and rural areas, including within Kent.

Suppliers typically use a single telephone line to facilitate the supply of class A drugs including heroin and crack cocaine, which becomes a valuable brand protected through violence and intimidation.

Medway and Eltham

Warrants were carried out at locations including Medway, Brixton, Charlton, Lambeth, Enfield and Eltham between Tuesday 9 and Thursday 11 October 2018 as part of an ongoing investigation by detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate and Kent Police’s Operation Raptor teams who specialise in tackling county lines.

Eighteen men and one woman aged between 18 and 55 were taken into custody on suspicion of conspiring to sell class A drugs, with officers also seizing knives, cash and packets suspected of containing crack cocaine and heroin.

Vulnerable people offered safeguarding advice

A number of vulnerable people were identified through the course of the operation, who have been offered safeguarding advice and support by officers from local community safety units.

Drugs liaison officers are also liaising with treatment providers to ensure those affected by the misuse of drugs can access suitable support, while police are continuing to work with local schools in order to protect young people at risk of exploitation.

Superintendent Tracey Quiller of Kent Police said: ‘The enforcement action carried out this week shows that we will not hesitate to cross county boundaries to target those suspected of bringing criminality into Kent.

‘Drugs ruin lives and we are dedicated to removing county line networks in order to prevent the exploitation of vulnerable people and the significant harm these offences cause to our communities.

National issue

‘It is important to remember that the organised supply of class A drugs is a national issue and the increased prevalence of county lines and the associated violence it brings is not unique to Kent. Nevertheless tackling drug-related crime is a priority for Kent Police and I would urge the public to act as our eyes and ears by reporting any suspicious behaviour.

‘The best advice is to trust your instincts. If somebody shows signs of mistreatment or if a child seems to be travelling long distances or is unfamiliar with a locality, please report it to us. Even if someone isn’t involved in county lines drug dealing, they may be being exploited in some other way so it is always worth speaking out.

No hiding place in Kent

‘By continuing to work together we not only ensure Kent remains a safe place to live, work and visit, but we are also getting the message through to criminals that there is no hiding place from the law in Kent.’

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