Arrests made in Stevenage and Hatfield during drug gangs operation
PUBLISHED: 10:13 25 January 2019
Officers from Herts police’s Operation Mantis team were supported by the National Crime Agency and the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit to carry out raids at addresses across the county.
A 17-year-old boy from Drayton Park in London was arrested in Hatfield’s Jubilee Court, while a 21-year-old man from South Norwood was arrested in Trumper Road, Stevenage, both on suspicion of being in possession with intent to supply class A drugs.
Police also arrested a 20-year-old man from London in Stoke Newington on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of controlled drugs, and a 26-year-old man from Enfield in the North London borough, on suspicion of being in possession with intent to supply class A drugs.
The operation is part of a week of action being carried out at a national level – led by the new National County Lines Co-ordination Centre – to disrupt and arrest those involved in county lines drugs operations.
The Operation Mantis team was launched in 2018 and is made up of officers who specialise in targeting serious and organised crime. Their aim is to identify and disrupt county lines – the name given to describe drug dealing which involves criminal networks from urban areas expanding their activities into smaller towns and rural areas – and the associated crime that goes with it.
Det Insp Jim Luxon from the Operation Mantis team said: “Following on from our last week of action in October, we are looking to keep the pressure on those involved in gangs and drug-related crime.
“We’re being proactive in preventing these organisations from moving into Hertfordshire, which is a growing national issue that we must target through early disruption and, wherever possible, before serious offences occur.
“Police forces across the country are taking part in the co-ordinated week of action to target those who are involved in drugs supply and exploiting the vulnerable.
“These gangs work and supply drugs across county borders, so we have worked closely with neighbouring forces to identify and gather evidence against those involved.
“Often the victims of this type of crime are young and vulnerable people who are threatened and exploited by these gangs. The impact on the local communities where they operate can be significant, spreading crime and violence.
“Following on from several months of intelligence gathering and working with our partners, we were able to carry out a number of warrants across the county, which has helped to disrupt the activities of county lines gangs, resulting in arrests, drugs and cash seizures and also helped towards efforts to safeguard the vulnerable.
“We continue to work with partners to raise awareness of county lines among young people, parents, teachers and other members of the community to help protect the vulnerable and prevent them from being pulled into county lines activity.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police via the non-emergency number 101 or report information online at www.herts.police.uk/report.
Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through its anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.