DAWN raids in Portsmouth, Kent and London have seen seven drug dealing and human trafficking suspects arrested.
A four-month-long investigation into a drugs gang, which is thought to traffic young people into Portsmouth carrying Class A drugs to be sold on the city’s streets, resulted in a number of arrests being made early yesterday morning.
Three arrest warrants were executed at around 5am yesterday in the city – two in Brownlow Close, Buckland, and third in St Chad’s Avenue, North End – with officers searching the premises for clues throughout the morning.
A 42-year-old man from Portsmouth was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
A 31-year-old woman of no fixed abode was also arrested in Hampshire on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
And a 20-year-old man was produced from HMP Winchester and arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, inciting the supply of Class A drugs, and trafficking.
It is not known where the man is from originally.
Two people from London, one from Folkestone, and another currently in a prison in Kent, were also arrested yesterday.
Before yesterday’s raids, 15 people aged between 15 and 20 years old were arrested by police in Hampshire and Kent on suspicion of drug offences.
Officers from a number of forces including Hampshire Constabulary and the Metropolitan Police’s Trident Central Gangs Unit said they have been targeting a criminal network, which is believed to have trafficked young girls and boys from south-east London, to transport Class A drugs to Hampshire and Kent.
During the raids, a large quantity of crack cocaine and what is believed to be a press used to package drugs were recovered.
Around £1,500 in cash was seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act from an address in Petham, Canterbury.
Officers have not said whether anything of interest was found during the three raids in Portsmouth.
‘Hampshire is not a soft touch,’ says chief inspector
DETECTIVE chief inspector Kevin Dennis from Hampshire Constabulary said the force wanted to send a ‘strong message’ to drugs gangs coming into the county.
‘We identified that drug gangs from London were sending young people into Portsmouth to deal,’ he said.
‘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 gangs - Hampshire is not a soft touch, we will pursue you if you deal in our area and we will put you before the courts.’