Drugs worth £4.3m seized and 230 arrested in county lines crackdown | UK News

An estimated £4.3million worth of Class A drugs have been seized and 230 suspects arrested in a crackdown on county lines gangs.

Around 70 criminal networks supplying heroin, cocaine and crack from London were shut down by the Metropolitan Police during a week of action beginning on 3 October.

Scotland Yard detectives also confiscated a large quantity of Class B drugs together with almost £335,000 in cash and almost 60 weapons including a firearm, a samurai sword, meat cleaver, machetes, knives and knuckle dusters.

A total of 249 children and vulnerable adults – 215 male and 34 female – were safeguarded during the week-long crackdown, which is part of the force’s Operation Orochi.

County lines refers to criminal gangs using mobile phones to supply drugs from large cities to towns and rural areas.

This week police intercepted county lines running from the capital to Hull and Hertfordshire.

Line holders are in charge of the network while runners, often vulnerable people, are used to deliver the drugs.

This system of drug distribution leads to serious violence and exploitation, police said.

Some 31 referrals were made to officials responsible for identifying victims of human trafficking and modern slavery and ensuring they get appropriate support.

Drugs confiscated during the county lines crackdown
Drugs that were confiscated during the operation
Drugs seized during the crackdown
Drugs seized during the crackdown

From its inception in November 2019 until September this year, Operation Orochi has seen more than 1,260 county lines dismantled and almost 2,500 people arrested, leading to 3,833 charges for offences including drug supply, weapon possession and modern slavery.

Deputy assistant commissioner, Graham McNulty, said: “County lines bring misery to communities and devastate the lives of those who are most vulnerable in our society.

“There is an undeniable link between drugs and violence, so disrupting all routes of drug supply continues to be central to our work in making London safer for everyone.”

A suspect being led away by police Pic: Twitter/ Met Police
A suspect being led away by police Pic: Twitter/ Met Police

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Mr McNulty added: “Our efforts to tackle county lines are ongoing day in, day out, not just during the coordinated weeks of action.

“We will press on with removing drugs off our streets, keeping our communities safe, and protecting those who are most vulnerable and easily susceptible to predatory gangs.”

Police from across the capital also worked alongside 6,000 children and adults to explain the warning signs of criminal exploitation.