#AceNewsReport – Aug.27: Officers made the discovery when attending Upton’s house on Crammond Close, Newton Heath, on the morning Friday 5 March after intelligence had been received by detectives investigating modern slavery and drugs trafficking in Tameside….
#AceDailyNews reports that Jamie Upton, (24/02/1998), was jailed for three years and nine months after he pleaded guilty in June of this year to possession of ammunition and possession of class A and class B drugs.
Upton was arrested shortly before 6am and specialist officers searched the property over the course of the next four hours where numerous amounts of evidence were forensically recovered including cocaine, heroin, 17 phones, a rifle and over 16 bullets.
During an interview at Central Park police station, Upton denied the white powder was cocaine before being told that it had tested positive as cocaine. He proceeded to answer ‘no comment’ thereafter.
He was charged a short time later and on Wednesday 23 June he pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of ammunition and possession of class A and class B drugs, worth approximately £10,000, furthermore he later pleaded guilty to possession of the rifle after it was forensically proven that it could be fired.
Detective Constable Laura Hughes, of GMP Tameside’s Child Criminal Exploitation Team, said: “This is a strong first result as part of Operation Marconi, which is our investigation into the supply of drugs in the Tameside area and the criminal exploitation of vulnerable young people for unscrupulous means: While it is satisfying that Jamie Upton will now be behind bars after this case, we are committed to ensure that him and any other suspects as part of this operation will continue to be investigated and where possible prosecuted and convicted: The damage that could have been caused by the ammunition, rifle and drugs we seized cannot be understated and quite frankly does not bear thinking about, it is therefore important that Upton has been brought to justice for his crimes and is off the streets, unable to be in possession of such illicit products.”
#AceNewsReport – Aug.12: Operation Pandilla aims to disrupt high harm offenders using the roads in and out of London by using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology. ANPR is a camera that is linked to a computer. When a vehicle passes the camera it records an image which is automatically ‘read’ by the computer and the vehicle registration is recorded…..
#AceDailyNews reports that more than 40 arrests and 10 weapons removed in summer crackdown on violent crime as officers were on the lookout for vehicles linked to county lines, gangs and weapons travelling into areas blighted by street violence.
Coordinated by the Violent Crime Task Force, other teams including the Roads and Transport Policing Command (RTPC), Taskforce and the Dog Support Unit supported the intensified effort over three days (Tuesday, 3 to Thursday, 5 August).
The Met teamed up with county forces including Surrey, Thames Valley, Kent, Hertfordshire, City of London and Essex Police to work together to apprehend criminals using the road networks in and around the capital.
In London there were:
46 arrests for offences including possession of an offensive weapon and possession with intent to supply Class A drugs;
10 weapons seized;
22 amounts of drugs recovered;
20 other illegal items seized.
Acting Inspector Adam Cook, of the Violent Crime Task Force,coordinated the operation in London.He said: “Now we’ve come out of lockdown it is our absolute top priority to reduce violence and keep our communities safe over the summer period.
“Operation Pandilla was focused in specific areas where we know violence occurs. Our approach was targeted and led by intelligence coupled with ANPR, allowing us to stop those intent on causing harm to communities.
“Many of those arrested are dangerous individuals who exploit vulnerable people down a path of violence. Safeguarding is at the forefront of our minds and diversionary help and support was offered to every individual who was arrested.
“We know drugs are inextricably linked to street violence and at the heart of our policing plan this summer we are directly bearing down on what matters most to Londoners.
“The police cannot tackle violence alone. We need communities to tell us what they know. I urge anyone with information about violence and drug crime to report in confidence to the independent charity Crimestoppers, it is 100 per cent anonymous.”
+ If you have any information about violent crime, please contact police or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 – your anonymity is guaranteed. They are a totally independent of police and you remain 100 per cent anonymous, they never ask your name and they cannot trace your call, your IP address or device you use.
No detail you might have is too small – every bit of information helps towards the fight against knife crime in London.
#AceNewsReport – Aug.10: Each county line closed was done so through a joint investigation with another UK police force. Working in partnership enables officers to tackle the line at both ends – at source where the line holder is located (in London) and in the county where the drugs ultimately end up.
#AceDailyNews reports that early morning warrants carried out to tackle county lines and since November 2019, a total of 527 lines have been closed, 1,045 individuals have been arrested, 1,642 charges have been achieved and 468 young or vulnerable people have been safeguarded…
Through these investigations, 27 firearms (including 11 lethal barrelled) and 53 other dangerous weapons have been seized. More than half a million pounds in cash and more than £700,000 in criminal assets have been recovered.
In the early hours of this morning, Monday, 9 August, three more suspects believed to be involved in county lines were arrested in the Met’s latest piece of activity against drug supply.
One of these individuals was also arrested on suspicion of attempted murder in relation to a stabbing which occurred in a venue linked to a county line in Essex.
Officers from Surrey and Essex Police travelled to London and worked side by side with the Met on the operation.
All three suspects have now been taken to police stations in the respective counties where they will be interviewed.
Warrants were carried out at the following locations:
Francis Avenue, IG1 – a 40-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder;
Waltheof Gardens, N17 – a 20-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs;
Scott Trimmer Way, TW3 – a 26-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.
Since November 2019, the Met has carried out joint investigations with 23 other forces from Police Scotland to Devon and Cornwall. At this moment in time, there are still more than 200 live investigations in train with more being developed every day.
Tackling county lines at both ends has led to significant successes. It has not only enabled the focus of police activity to be on those at the centre of this drugs distribution model, it has also enabled forces with lines running into them to tackle the associated crime in their communities.
Due to the high quality of evidence created between two forces, the current guilty plea rate for being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs is approximately 90 per cent.
Over the last year, the Met has been further developing its approach to dismantling the county lines drug model. Officers have been increasing the use of modern day slavery legislation to charge those exploiting young and vulnerable people into drug supply with not only drug offences, but human trafficking offences too.
Since November 2019, 21 defendants have been charged with 38 slavery offences. Nine people have been convicted of human trafficking offences to date.
A new specialist team has also been developed within the Met, focused solely on ensuring county lines activity does not pay. Officers focus on removing any profit from line holders and their associates. Since inception in September 2020, this team has seized more than £3 million in criminal cash and assets. There are 99 live investigations still being carried out by this team.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, who leads the Met’s response to County Lines, said: “For nearly two years now we have been driving forward a new approach to tackling county lines. We’ve put those coordinating these drug lines at the centre of our focus and have worked hard to cut off the supply at source: We’ve now arrested more than 1,000 people linked to county lines and achieved more than 1,500 charges for serious drug supply offences: We’ve never worked more closely with other forces on this issue, and our work over the past 18 months demonstrates the critical role these partnerships play. This remains an area of significant focus for us, and we will continue to develop our approach and adapt to whatever challenges we face in order to continue reducing the number of lines dealing drugs across the UK.”
Commissioner Cressida Dick, said: “One of the suspects arrested this morning was wanted for attempted murder linked to county lines activity. It could not be clearer that county lines brings with it serious violence and harm to communities not just within London, but across the country: Reducing violent crime across London is the focus of every officer and member of staff in the Met. Cases like this clearly demonstrate why reducing the availability and supply of drugs across the capital is crucial in tackling violence on the streets: Whilst we have seen significant success in this area, we are never complacent. We are always looking at how we remain one step ahead. Wherever possible we are increasing the consequences for those intent on supplying drugs and committing acts of violence: Our recent use of modern day slavery legislation against those exploiting young and vulnerable people has resulted in significant custodial sentences. This type of conviction also enables us to place tight restrictions on these individuals once they are released from prison: We’re also looking really closely at how we ensure those involved in county lines do not make a penny from it. They cannot profit from the misery they cause to the most vulnerable in our society and the wider public.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel, said: “Drugs are a scourge that spread violence, crime and misery throughout our towns and cities: Today’s operation is the result of the Government’s crackdown on country line drug gangs and targeted law enforcement work by the Metropolitan Police to arrest vile criminals who will stop at nothing in their exploitation of the vulnerable to peddle drugs and destroy lives: Our nation wide action to crackdown on county lines drugs gangs has rolled up across the country over 1,100 drug lines destroyed and more than 6,300 arrests: Crime is falling but I will always give the police the powers and tools they need to protect the public by destroying criminal activity and cutting crime.”
#AceNewsReport – Aug.01: Five men were sentenced over two days on Thursday, 29 July and Friday, 30 July at Kingston Crown Court as follows:
Jemy Capitao, 28 (24.04.93), of Llanelli, Wales was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment. He pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and possessing criminal property before the five week trial. Part-way through the trial, he also admitted one count of arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploit
Basky Capitao, 27 (01.06.94), of Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment. He was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploit.
Harvey Kimpton, 21 (23.03.00), of Harlow, Essex was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment. He pleaded guilty on the day of the trial to two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and possessing a prohibited firearm, as well as two counts of possession of class A drugs with intent to supply
Ayyub Elaouzi, 22 (10.11.98), of Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire was sentenced to eight years and four months’ imprisonment. He pleaded guilty on the day of the trial to two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and one count of arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploit.
Harry King, 20 (14.02.01), of Hertford, Hertfordshire was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, suspended for two years. He was found guilty of arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploit.
A sixth man, Kenneth Langrish, 36 (11.05.85), of Enfield pleaded guilty on the day of the trial to two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and one count of arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploit. He had previously pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply class A drugs. He will be sentenced on a date to be confirmed.
#AceDailyNews reports on County lines gang jailed for trafficking and exploiting a child as a drug runner after the investigation was carried out by officers from Operation Orochi, the Met’s specialist crime team dedicated to tackling high harm offenders involved in county lines drugs supply. It proactively targets London-based line holders, working in partnership with importing county forces.
County lines is the name given to drug dealing where criminals use phone lines to move and supply drugs, usually from cities into smaller towns and rural areas across the whole country.
The gangs exploit vulnerable people, including children and those with mental health or addiction issues, by recruiting them to distribute the drugs.
This investigation began when an autistic 15-year-old schoolboy from north London was reported missing on 10 September 2020. Enquiries revealed that he might be staying at an address in Swansea where he was running drugs for an organised crime group who controlled the ‘Gino line.’
As the missing person investigation continued, Elaouzi was arrested for an unrelated matter on 16 September 2020. During the course of his arrest he attempted to discard a mobile phone. The Gino line was active just five minutes before he was arrested and then ceased to continue.
On 17 September 2020, Jemy Capitao, who the court heard was the line-runner, went to a newsagents in Swansea and purchased two mobile phone top-up vouchers for a Nokia phone, which enabled the activation of the Gino 2 line. Bulk messages were sent from the phone later that night reading ‘the real Gino is back on bang bang both.’ Both refers to the crack cocaine and heroin they were selling.
On 25 September 2020, officers from South Wales Police attended a residential address in Swansea where they believed the missing teenager was, but he was not present. However, officers recovered a Nokia burner phone from within the property. Subsequent analysis of the phone revealed that it was housing the new Gino 2 line.
On the same day, officers carried out enquiries at a nearby address, which was in a poor condition, where they located the teenager. He was safeguarded and taken back to London.
Text messages uncovered on the victim’s phone by Op Orochi officers revealed the extent of the county lines operation as well as those involved. The victim was in regular contact with Jemy and the Gino and Gino 2 lines as well as some of the other defendants.
Analysis of his phone also highlighted the mistreatment of the youngster by the gang. On 12 September 2020, he sent a message the Gino line requesting some food before being repeatedly ignored and texting “can’t lie I’m hungry.” On 15 September 2020, he sent a text to Jemy saying: “I’m broke bro I haven’t eaten since yesterday.”
The gang became worried after the teenager was found by the police. Jemy Capitao went on the run with his girlfriend and they stayed in a hotel in Milton Keynes where they were found by officers on 1 October 2020. Detectives also found £2,910 in cash wedged into the handle of a kettle in the room. Officers also searched his home address and recovered a cash counting machine and large quantities of designer goods and high value items.
Jemy’s brother Basky Capitao, who ran the line when his brother was away, was also arrested on 1 October 2020 after officers stopped a car he was a passenger in on the M25. He was found in possession of £625 in cash as well as an iPhone and a burner phone. The court heard he played a key role in the trafficking of the teenager by arranging and facilitating his travel to South Wales.
Langrish, who works for Basky as a driver/courier, drove the teenage victim to Swindon on the night of 10/11 September 2020 for the first leg of his journey. He was arrested on 6 October 2020. He was found to have 125 packages of crack cocaine hidden under his genitals. The court heard Langrish made numerous trips to South Wales so he could re-supply the Gino line with class A drugs in Swansea.
Officers executed a warrant at Kimpton’s address on 9 October 2020. He was arrested directly outside. Detectives searched the address and found a Gucci shoe box containing a loaded 22-calibre self-loading pistol and ammunition. Officers also found a Taser disguised as a torch as well as cocaine and heroin.
King was arrested on 14 October 2020 at his home address. King was based in Swindon at the time of the teenager’s trafficking. He received the victim in Swindon from Langrish before arranging and facilitating the youngster’s travel to South Wales.
Elaouzi was also arrested on 14 October 2020 for the offences linked to this investigation. The court heard that Elaouzi was holding the Gino line when the teenager was trafficked to Wales.
Following the arrest of the defendants, further enquiries were carried out by Op Orochi officers, particularly into the phones that were seized from them when they were arrested.
Subsequently they were charged and convicted as above.
Detective Constable Ben Baker, the investigating officer from Operation Orochi, said: “County lines drug dealers exploit young and vulnerable people to facilitate their drug supply. They hope that by using vulnerable children as drugs runners they will shield themselves from identification and prosecution by law enforcement. This is because frequently, these exploited persons are too scared to assist police: The additional recovery of a loaded firearm associated with these perpetrators reflects the intractable association between drug supply and violence: This investigation has shown that the police are able to pursue those involved with exploiting children for drug supply, irrespective of whether a victim assists the police or not. We hope this case will discourage future gangs from using children as drugs runners by showing that it isn’t any barrier to their prosecution.”
#AceNewsReport – June.25: They were arrested on Thursday, 17 June, after warrants were executed at various addresses across east London:
#AceDailyNews says ….MET Specialist Crime Command Officers have charged seven people 6-men and 1-woman following proactive county lines operation and exploitation of children after following appeared in custody at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on Saturday, 19 June and were remanded to appear at the same court on Friday, 16 July:
[A] Muhammed Khan, 21 (23.06.00) of Davenport Gardens, Ilford was charged with three counts of conspiracy to supply a Class A drug, acquire/use/possess criminal property and conspire to supply a Class B drug.
[B] Rizwan Ahmad, 26 (22.03.95) of Stonehall Avenue, Ilford was charged with three counts of conspiracy to supply a Class A drugs, acquire/use/possess criminal property and conspiracy to supply a Class B drug.
[C] Kamran Ahmad, 26 (30.01.95) of Stonehall Avenue, Ilford was charged with conspiracy to supply a Class B drug, three counts of conspiracy to supply a Class A drug and acquire/use/possess criminal property.
[D] Kyle Francis, 20 (11.01.01) of Wolsey Avenue, East Ham, Newham was charged with three counts of conspiracy to supply a Class A drugs, conspiracy to supply a Class B drug and two counts of arranging or facilitating travel of another person with a view to exploitation.
The following woman has been bailed and is due to appear at Thames Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, 15 July:
[E] Deborah Francis, 54 (14.10.66) of Wolsey Avenue, East Ham, Newham was charged with two counts of conceal/disguise/convert/transfer/ removing criminal property, commit an act/series of acts with intent to prevent the course of public justice, concerned in the supply of a Class B drug, possess with intent to supply a Class A drug and racially/religiously aggravated harassment without violence.
Additionally, [F] Dominic Frances, 29 (11.02.92) of Her Majesty’s Prison was sent a postal requisition charging him with three counts of conspire to supply a Class A drug, conspiracy to supply a Class B drug and two counts of conspiracy to arrange or facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation.
He will appear in custody at Thames Magistrates’ Court on Friday, 16 July.
[G] Naeem Akhtar, 34 (01.12.86) of Her Majesty’s Prison was charged with three counts of conspiracy to supply a Class A drug and conspiracy to supply a Class B drug. His first hearing date is yet to be confirmed.
#AceNewsReport – June18: On Thursday, 17 June, officers from Met’s Central Specialist Crime, along with officers from North East Command, led an operation that focused on the disruption of a suspected organised crime network operating in east London.
MET Central Specialist Crime Commnad Officers have arrested eight in an operation to tackle County Lines: Four east London addresses were targeted simultaneously, three in Ilford and one in Newham, alongside the production of two men already in prison.
[Image of seized cash]
A total of seven men and one woman were arrested, aged between 19 and 56 years old, on suspicion of offences including conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, modern slavery and human trafficking.
Searches at the addresses continue but officers have so far seized a large quantity of cash and Class B drugs.
The investigation was launched in October 2020 after officers identified a ring of people involved in widespread drug supply across east London and Essex. One suspect was identified as operating the activity from inside prison.
The early stages of the investigation led officers to discover children at risk from an organised crime group. The operation has so far resulted in more than 10 children being rescued from the control of the group with this number expected to increase throughout the course of the investigation. They have been appropriately safeguarded and are currently being looked after by specialist officers.
Detective Inspector Laura Hillier, from Specialist Crime, said: “This morning’s activity is a culmination of months of hard work by officers from the Modern Slavery and Child Exploitation unit. The operation has focused on rescuing children and vulnerable people who had no option but to do as they were told through fear of violence from those controlling them: We know county lines activity is closely linked to violence that we see on the streets of London and in other parts of the United Kingdom. Not only have we rescued children from violence and exploitation, but by disrupting this drug supply line we’ve destroyed the business model of this group and hopefully prevented further criminality. ………All those arrested have been taken to east London police stations.
+ Do you have information about drug crime? If you have information that could help keep your community safe, but don’t want to speak to police, please contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They do not ask your name and cannot trace your call or I.P address.
Any young people who have information about drug dealing or want information about the consequences of drug crime, can visit Fearless to where they can pass on information anonymously – your I.P address will not be traced. Fearless is part of the Crimestoppers charity, and is also independent of the police.
Hard calls save lives. Are you close to someone on the fringes of violence or drug crime? Do the right thing, please give information, 100 per cent anonymously, through the independent charity Crimestoppers.
No piece of information about violent crime is insignificant or too small. Any information you give to Crimestoppers can make a difference in reducing knife crime and the harm it causes to families.
#AceNewsReport – May.28: Hundreds of officers from units and boroughs across the Met came together to target county lines gangs and safeguard the children and vulnerable adults they exploit:
LATEST: MET Officers take part in the latest national county lines intensification week, which ran from Monday, 17 to Sunday, 23 May.
[Image of recovered drugs]
The Met collaborated with multiple forces across the country resulting in:
– 249 vulnerable people safeguarded, including 119 children.
The following was also seized throughout operations:
8kg (2,887 wraps) of Class A drugs;
More than 11kg of Class B drugs including 199 cannabis plants;
Four firearms, two imitation firearms, ammunition and a CS spray;
17 knives and one axe;
27 drug lines run from London to counties. This includes removing the mobile phone and the line holder to shut it down;
£126,000 in cash;
Criminal assets including designer clothing, £80,000 of watches and a number of vehicles.
Officers also made 13 referrals to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), which assesses individuals as potential victims of human trafficking/modern slavery.
County lines is the name given to drug dealing where criminals use phone lines to move and supply drugs, usually from cities into smaller towns and rural areas across the whole country.
The gangs exploit vulnerable people, including children and those with mental health or addiction issues, by recruiting them to distribute the drugs. They are controlled by being threatened with high levels of violence and intimidation.
County lines gangs also exploit vulnerable adults by using their home as a base to deal drugs, which is known as cuckooing. The gangs often target people who are lonely, isolated or have addiction issues and offer them free drugs or to pay for their food and utilities in exchange for use of the address.
The Met is doing more than ever before to safeguard those exploited by county lines, including an increased use of modern slavery legislation to charge those at the top of the county lines chain.
The Met is also providing officers with more training to spot the signs of exploitation and it is also working with partners including The Children’s Society as part of an increased focus on safeguarding.
County lines is tackled by teams locally across the Met and by a central, specialist team funded by the Home Office called Operation Orochi.
Over the last six months, the Met has worked jointly with county forces on a number of significant county lines cases involving modern day slavery. Since November 2019, when Op Orochi was created, to the end of April 2021, 253 vulnerable people have been actively rescued from exploitation and 21 people have been charged with 38 modern day slavery offences.
Since November 2019 to the end of April 2021, Op Orochi and teams across the Met have closed 406 lines, arrested 793 county lines lineholders and had 1,368 charges authorised for a range of offences including drug supply, modern slavery and weapon possession.
Op Orochi began the new tactic of targeting the lineholders, who are the individuals controlling the line. They rarely leave London and avoid the risk of handling commodities, but coordinate the distribution of drugs through the exploitation of children and vulnerable adults. The team works hand in glove with officers from the importing forces, with an officer in the case assigned at each end.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, said: “I am incredibly proud of the results of this intensification week, achieved by the Met’s dedicated, hardworking officers. We have taken dozens of organised, violent criminals off the streets of London and closed almost 30 county lines. However, most important to me is the fact we have protected 249 children and vulnerable adults who were exploited by these gangs.
“I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to the hundreds of officers involved in making the week a resounding success. Results like this do not just happen overnight, they are down to months and months of meticulous planning and hard work by officers in every borough in London.
“I’d like to make it clear that this week was an intensification of the excellent work that is going on 24/7, 365 days a year across the Met to tackle county lines. We will not be taking our foot off the gas and will continue to target those bringing misery to communities.
“The majority of the public may believe county lines does not have a wider impact on the communities of London, but the consequences of this type of criminality should not be underestimated.
“We see a significant amount of violence, often chaotic violence involving young people, linked to county lines. That’s why disrupting the supply of drugs through all routes continues to form a central part of our work to tackle violence on the streets of London.
“We need you to help us keep our communities safe and I would implore you to contact us, or the independent charities Crimestoppers or Fearless anonomously with any information you have regarding drug dealing, exploitation, or violent crime in your area. We all have a responsibility to make London a safe place for everyone.”
National charity The Children’s Society works with partners including specialist teams in the Met to develop plans to disrupt exploitation and protect vulnerable children.
Kelly Lewington, the charity’s London Area Manager, said: “Criminals groom children into county lines with offers of cash, friendship, status, drugs and alcohol, then threaten them with horrific violence if they dare report this: By identifying signs of exploitation, police officers can play their part not only in building evidence against those who cynically exploit children but also in helping to ensure these young people get the help they desperately need: These children may have been manipulated, abused and traumatised by those exploiting them, which can lead to them appearing angry and aggressive and not necessarily behaving in the way people might expect of victims: We have delivered training to Met officers and custody staff to support them to look beyond the obvious in recognising and responding to exploitation – including as part of our Look Closer campaign during this week of action: Look Closer calls on all members of the public, as well as parents and professionals, to look out for and report signs of exploitation to the police.”
If you are concerned about drug-related crime in your area or think someone may be a victim of drug exploitation, please call us on 101. Always call 999 in an emergency: If you would like to provide information anonymously, call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Young people can give information 100% anonymously by contacting the charity Fearless.
No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not go to court or have to speak to police when contacting Crimestoppers or Fearless.
For more information on county lines and how to prevent yourself or a loved one from becoming a victim, visit or website.
For more information about The Children Society’s Look Closer campaign visit their website.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.21: All those arrested have been taken to police stations in London and Hampshire. The Metropolitan Police Service lead the investigation:
The operation involved more than 150 officers from the Metropolitan Police Service, Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police.
MET Proactive Unit Officers: Arrests have been made as police target county lines networks: ‘A total of eight addresses were targeted simultaneously across London, Hampshire and Berkshire. Three men and two women, aged between 20 and 40 years old, have been arrested on suspicion of offences including conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and modern slavery’
[Officers on this morning’s raids]
Searches of the addresses continue but officers have so far found a machete, Class B drugs and a rapier sword.
The investigation was launched in January this year after officers identified a ring of people involved in widespread drug supply across the southeast of England through county lines.
The early stages of the investigation led officers to believe young children and extremely vulnerable adults were being used to deal drugs along the county lines. They secured evidence to suggest these individuals were being held against their will in order to clear debts owed to the group.
The investigating team worked tirelessly to identify suspects through CCTV, ANPR and extensive cell phone analysis. The operation has so far resulted in four young children and vulnerable people being rescued. They are currently being looked after by specialist officers.
Sergeant Tom Freeman from the Met’s Proactive Gangs Unit, which leads the investigation, said: “This morning’s activity is a culmination of months of hard work by officers across three different police forces. The operation focused on rescuing children and vulnerable people who had no option to do as they were told through fear of violence from those controlling them: “ The evidence we’ve gathered leads us to believe they were being held against their will until they paid off debts they did not create in the first place. Those involved in this activity entirely manipulated the vulnerabilities of these individuals for their own financial gain – a common trait of county lines lineholders: “ We know county lines activity is closely linked to violence we see on the streets of London and other parts of the United Kingdom. Not only have we rescued vulnerable people from violence and exploitation, but by disrupting this drug supply line we’ve destroyed the business model of this group and hopefully prevented violent incidents occurring in the future.”
Inspector Richard Lane from Hampshire Constabulary, which supported the operation, said: “County lines and its associated violence can cause misery in our communities, and it is right that we put significant effort into dismantling these networks and safeguarding vulnerable people who have been exploited in this trade: “ We will continue to work with our partners to identify those responsible and target these drug dealing networks in north Hampshire and across the force area.”
Detective Inspector John Wordsworth, from Thames Valley Police, which aided the operation, said: “County lines drugs has a significant impact on our communities and often those who profit from drugs are exploiting children and vulnerable adults in order to do so: “ We are committed to tackling county lines drugs and this operation should be a reminder that police forces will work together across borders in order to stop this pernicious activity: “ We will also continue to work in partnership to protect those who are exploited by county lines drugs gangs: “ The public also have an important role to play in providing information that can assist us in dismantling county lines drugs lines and also safeguard vulnerable individuals.”
The below were arrested following the warrants:
[A] a 40-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs and on suspicion of money laundering.
[B] a 24-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs and on suspicion of securing services from children and vulnerable persons under the Modern Slavery Act 2002.
[C] a 38-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs and on suspicion of securing services from children and vulnerable persons under the Modern Slavery Act 2002.
[D] a 37-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs and on suspicion of securing services from children and vulnerable persons under the Modern Slavery Act 2002.
[E] a 20-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs and on suspicion of securing services from children and vulnerable persons under the Modern Slavery Act 2002.
#AceNewsReport – Mar.13: The warrants were carried out as part of an ongoing investigation into suspected child criminal exploitation and drug dealing in the North West:
Fourth person charged following county lines warrants: ‘Detectives have charged a fourth person following County Lines warrants in Merseyside, Lancashire and Cheshire on Tuesday 23 February’
Kieran Gaughan, 26 years, of no fixed address was arrested yesterday (Thursday 11 March) and has now been charged with arranging or facilitating travel of another person with a view to exploitation; being concerning in the supply of cocaine; being concerned in supply of heroin; being concerned in the supply of a Class B controlled drug (cannabis); supplying a Class A controlled drug (crack cocaine); supplying a Class A controlled drug (heroin); affray; possession of a knife/blade/sharp pointed article in a public place; and actual bodily harm.
He has been remanded in custody to appear at Liverpool Magistrates Court today (Friday 12 March).
The following three people were charged on 24 February and appeared in court on 25 February.
• Daniel Clarke, 24 years, of Flers Avenue, Latchford, Warrington, Cheshire was charged with arranging or facilitating travel of another person with a view to exploitation • Louise Hilton, 46 years, of Yarrow Road, Chorley, Lancashire was charged with being concerned in the supply of cocaine; being concerned in the supply of heroin; and arranging or facilitating travel of another person with a view to exploitation • Emily Norman, 20 years, of Festival Avenue, Orford, Warrington, Cheshire was charged with arranging or facilitating travel of another person with a view to exploitation