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 being concerned in the supply 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 a County Line and a quantity of suspected Class A drugs.
The operational activity was led by officers from the Met’s dedicated County Lines team who run Operation Orochi. This is 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.
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 the 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 increase and intensify in the coming weeks as we continue to bring those responsible for this criminality to justice.”
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.”
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.