More than 30 arrests made during latest county lines crackdown
Main article content
Almost a thousand wraps of heroin and crack cocaine have been seized during the latest clampdown on drug supply networks into Kent.
Weapons including knives, baseball bats and firearms were also recovered by officers, as part of a nationwide ‘week of intensification’ to tackle county lines and gang activity.
A total of 34 suspects were arrested by Kent Police during coordinated action involving police forces throughout the country, and which ran from Monday 9 to Sunday 15 October 2023.
London supply chains targeted
In a joint operation with the Metropolitan Police, officers executed multiple search warrants linked to criminal networks extending from London into areas across the whole of Kent.
At around 6.25am on Tuesday 10 October, entry was gained to an address in Camberwell, south London.
Searches led to the discovery of 100 grams of crack and around 300 wraps of heroin. Cash in the region of £5,000 to £10,000 was also seized as well as a phone suspected to be linked to drugs supply.
Hameeb Bakare, 31, was arrested and charged with two counts of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs, as well as two counts of possession with intent to supply drugs. He was also charged with possessing criminal property (namely the seized cash).
On the same day, three address in Croydon and Orpington were targeted.
This led to the seizure of an estimated £60,000 of uncut heroin and crack cocaine, as well as knives, a knuckleduster, and more than 20 phones and SIM cards.
Around £22,000 in cash was confiscated, along with two high value cars including a Porsche, and thousands of pounds of designer clothing.
Four suspects were arrested and charged in connection with drugs supply and money laundering offences.
Disruption across Kent
Since 2020, enforcement action by Kent Police has seen the number of active county lines fall more than 50 per cent, from 82 to a current estimated total of 37.
The latest week of intensification has caused significant disruption to many of these remaining criminal enterprises, with further arrests and drug seizures across the county.
In Maidstone, officers seized a suspected stolen firearm and ammunition after they entered an address in Leander Heights.
An estimated 400 grams of cocaine with a street value of up to £30,000 was also recovered, along with a similar amount of cannabis, two knives and £12,000 cash.
Elliott McCarthy, 20, of Leander Heights was arrested and charged with three counts of being concerned in the supply of drugs – cocaine, heroin and cannabis. He was also charged with possessing a firearm without a certificate.
Further joint working with the Metropolitan Police, as well as British Transport Police patrols, saw successful enforcement in areas including Ashford and the Medway towns.
During the evening of Thursday 12 October, officers entered a property in Hartington Street, Chatham where they seized an illegal extendable baton, knuckle duster, kitchen knife, cannabis and cash.
Quinton Taylor, 28, was arrested and charged with two counts of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs and two counts of possessing an offensive weapon. He was further charged with possessing cannabis and possessing criminal property (namely cash seized).
Active lines more than halved
Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Ross, of the Kent Crime Squad, said: ‘During this week our enforcement has led to significant disruption to at least 18 county line networks. Action by our officers has resulted in 60 charges being made and several suspects remanded in custody. ‘This latest week of intensification is in addition to our determined and sustained focus around identifying and tackling those associated with drugs supply and gangs, and since 2020 we have more than halved the number of county lines operating in Kent. ‘We have dedicated teams of officers, both uniformed and in plain clothes, committed to targeting those responsible for the misery and destruction of lives connected to harmful substances such as heroin and cocaine. 'Anyone who deals in drugs can expect a robust response. Expect to be arrested and put before the courts. We also continue to need your help, so remember to report any suspicious behaviour.'