London arrest in Sussex 'County Lines' investigation
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Police in London and Sussex have worked together to arrest a man on suspicion of drug dealing.
In the early hours of Wednesday, 16 September the Home Secretary accompanied officers from the Metropolitan Police Service and Sussex Police on an operation targeting County Lines offending.
Officers carried out a search warrant at an address in Brighton Terrace, Brixton and arrested a 20-year-old man on suspicion of supply of Class A drugs - crack cocaine and heroin.
A search at the address is ongoing, but so far officers have recovered the phone believed to be used to control the County Line and a quantity of Class A drugs.
The operational activity was led by officers from the Met’s dedicated County Lines team who run Operation Orochi – focused solely on identifying and targeting those responsible for running County Lines, known as the lineholders. Colleagues from Sussex Police supported the operation this morning and will now lead the questioning of the suspect.
He is currently in custody in Sussex for interview and further enquiries.
Detective Chief Inspector Will Rolls of Sussex Police said: ”This is another example of the way we and other forces are working together with the Met and in our own communities, to target and disrupt dealers. We work relentlessly to target, investigate, arrest and prosecute drug dealers who cause harm in our local communities and exploit children and vulnerable adults”.
“Police activity is only one part of the solution, we need to reduce the demand, prevent our children and young people being drawn into using drugs and support those addicted to these lethal substances. We are working collaboratively with partners from local authorities,
charities, substance misuse use services, and schools to protect the public across Sussex.”
Detective Chief Inspector Ant Jones from the Metropolitan Police Service, said: “Every single day officers from the Met are working hand in glove with colleagues from other police forces to arrest those involved in running County Lines routes from the capital into other counties.
“Operations like this have been so successful through the strong relationships between forces who are equally committed to stopping County Lines routes. Through this approach we are able to disrupt and dismantle these lines from the centre and protect the vulnerable children and adults who are often coerced into running substances across the UK on behalf of these networks.
“This collaborative approach has enabled us to target and arrest County Lines criminals more than ever before. This activity will not cease, it will increase and intensify in the coming weeks and we will continue to bring those responsible for this criminality to justice.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel, who joined police at this morning’s operation, said: “I have made rolling up county lines drugs gangs an absolute priority. We have provided police with £25 million to tackle this exploitative trade, and I have today seen first-hand the impact of that investment. The police will continue having my full support in the fight to keep the public safe.”
For several months Sussex Police have been working with the Metropolitan Police on Operation Orochi, which targets drugs dealers based in London, with the aim of systematically dismantling their drugs ‘lines‘ they operate running into Sussex.
These are the people who aren’t ‘hands-on’ with the commodity and avoid police contact but exploit others, often the young and the vulnerable, to run drugs locally.
The West Sussex-based Community Investigation Team has worked with colleagues from the Met to dismantle so far nine ‘lines’ running Class A drugs to Crawley, Worthing and Bognor. The main organisers in four cases have already been convicted and sentenced to a total of nearly ten years imprisonment and people have been charged in the other five cases.
Other investigations are also under way.
Will Rolls adds; “However police activity is only one part of the solution, we need to reduce the demand, prevent our children and young people being drawn into using drugs and support those addicted to these lethal substances.
"Under the campaign banner 'Fortress' we are working collaboratively with partners from local authorities, charities, substance misuse use services, and schools to protect the public across Sussex.”
For further information and advice on how to combat drugs in Sussex see the force website.