Published: 19:18, 12 August 2020
| Updated: 20:18, 12 August 2020
Police raids in Kent and across the south east earlier today have resulted in a £100,000 sports car, around £40,000 cash and hundreds of cannabis plants being seized as part of an investigation into a suspected organised crime group.
Thirteen men were arrested following a number of raids carried out this morning in a combined operation at addresses in Ashford, Maidstone, Folkestone, Canterbury and Swale, as well as in Bristol, Essex, Hertfordshire and London.
Among the finds were two cannabis factories in Ashford containing a total of around 450 plants.
A 34-year-old man was taken into custody from a property in Victoria Crescent in the town where a quantity of cannabis plants were discovered.
Cannabis plants were also found at an address in Essetford Road where a 40-year-old man was arrested. Another 34-year-old man was taken into custody from an address in Lucilla Avenue, Ashford.
Among those arrested for offences including drug supply and money laundering was a 24-year-old man at an address in Week Street, Maidstone, where around £2,500 cash was seized.
Police also raided a hotel in Folkestone and arrested an 18-year-old man as well as a 31-year-old man at a property in Maple Street, Sheerness.
A 26-year-old man was taken into custody from a property in Romford where approximately £12,000 cash and an Audi R8 sports car suspected to have been purchased through the proceeds of crime were seized.
The investigation is being led by detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, who were assisted on the day by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service and Hertfordshire Constabulary.
Senior investigating officer DI Kris Eberlein said: ‘Disrupting organised criminality is a priority for Kent Police and we run a variety of operations to target those who bring associated criminality to the county, including drugs but also other linked offences such as violent crime.
"The money earned through the sale of cannabis on an industrial scale is often linked to more serious criminality such as human trafficking and modern slavery, and the supply of crack cocaine and heroin.
"Kent Police is committed to reducing the harm caused by all drugs and are sending out a very clear message to criminals that the sale of such illegal substances will not be tolerated."