EIGHT people have been arrested in dawn raids targeting criminals believed to have trafficked young girls and boys to transport class A drugs to Hampshire and Kent.
About 250 officers were involved in the 11 raids at 5am today in Portsmouth, London and Kent as part of the Metropolitan Police’s ongoing crackdown on gang crime.
The home raided in Portsmouth was in St Chads Avenue.
Eight people including a 31-year-old Hampshire woman, an 18-year-old man arrested in Lewisham, a 20-year-old man in Haringey, and a 32-year-old man in Kent are being held on suspicion of conspiracy to supply class A drugs, inciting supply of class A drugs, child trafficking and money laundering.
A 20-year-old man, a 15 year-old youth and a 36-year-old woman were produced from prison and arrested.
The Met said a large quantity of crack cocaine and what is believed to be a press used to package drugs have been recovered.
A total of £1,500 has been seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act from an address in Petham, Canterbury.
Det Chief Insp Kevin Dennis from Hampshire Constabulary said: ‘We welcome these raids today as the result of four months of work with Trident. We identified that drug gangs from London were sending young people into Portsmouth to deal.
‘These young people are themselves victims and we have taken steps to safeguard them and to work with them.
‘We want to send a strong message to the London drugs gang – Hampshire is not a soft touch, we will pursue you if you deal in our area and we will put you before the courts.’
Det Supt Tim Champion, from Trident Gang Crime Command, which led the operation said: ’Today’s activity is the result of Trident’s continued work with borough and UK colleagues to target the most ‘high risk’ offenders to keep communities, young people in London safe.
‘Today’s operation should serve as a clear message to those who think they are above the law. If you use young people to support your criminal activity - we will focus our efforts on you. You will be caught, you will be arrested and you will be placed before the courts.’