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Guns, heroin and cash seized in County Lines raids throughout Kent with 42 arrests made

By Katya Fowler

Guns, £50,000 and three kilos of heroin have been seized - as Kent Police declares "war" on County Lines drugs gangs.

KMTV reports on the raids

A total of 42 people were arrested - included suspected kingpins - after 38 properties were searched across the county as well as in London, Surrey and Sussex.

The warrants took place over two days in areas including Medway, Thanet, Folkestone, Ashford, Tonbridge and Maidstone, during a coordinated operation involving 150 officers aided by the Met and British Transport Police.

County Lines sees London gangs run Class As - usually heroin and crack cocaine - in to commuter towns to find new markets.

Yesterday 350 wraps of Class As were seized from an address in Dane Road, Margate after officers entered at 5.30am. Three people were arrested. Six people were also arrested in Trove Court, Newcastle Hill, Ramsgate where 130 wraps were recovered.

Simultaneous raids were carried out at addresses in London, also linked to the supply of drugs in Kent. These resulted in further arrests, in areas including Mitcham and Brockley.

The crackdown continued today when three kilograms of heroin worth tens of thousands of pounds were seized from a property in Goose Close, Chatham. A man was arrested.

Nearby, in Magpie Hall Road officers entered an address and found around £50,000 in cash stuffed into a rucksack, while in Solomon Road, Rainham more money and cocaine were seized. A man linked to both addresses was arrested.

3kg of heroin was seized
3kg of heroin was seized

In London, a handgun, live ammunition and large quantities of heroin and amphetamine were recovered from a flat in Federation Road, Abbey Wood. One man was arrested. Meanwhile, in Orpington a woman was detained after two imitation firearms were found in a car linked to an address in Lower Road.

Chief Constable Alan Pughsley said: "There are currently around 39 active county line networks in Kent which are being operated mainly from London, but by continuing to target and disrupt the gangs responsible my officers are making it much harder for them to establish a foothold.

"Those associated with gangs think nothing of the violence and misery they bring to our communities, however they should know that our knowledge and intelligence around their activities is comprehensive and growing rapidly. As these warrants show it is only a matter of time before these criminals are arrested and left facing lengthy prison sentences.

"I would like to further reassure residents that we are investing significantly in the number of police officers dedicated to tackling county lines and a coordinated approach with our partners, including other forces, is key to identifying and bringing to justice not only the street dealers, but those higher up the chain who are orchestrating the significant supplies of heroin and crack cocaine.

"Please also remember that your help remains vital. You can be our eyes and ears, so if you see anything suspicious call 101, or 999 if a crime is in progress."

"County lines criminality brings some of the most violent crime to this county. About 30% of the county lines are in London so we have to work really well with the Met police."

A firearm seized during the raid
A firearm seized during the raid
Cash found by police
Cash found by police

Kent Police have made more than 2,500 arrests since last summer, found 1,200 weapons, made around 1,000 drugs seizures, and confiscated £2.5 million in proceeds of crime.

Chf Con Pughsley added: "Our dedicated response is absolutely at this moment in time making a dent in county lines. Street intelligence tells me that local drug users are struggling to find drugs on the street in Kent. Maybe that's one of the best indicators of the impact my staff and I are having.

"At times, it must seem like a never-ending battle, but Kent Police are determined that they are going to win the war."

To get the latest updates in ongoing cases, police appeals and criminals put behind bars, click here.

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