Published: 12:22, 12 October 2018
| Updated: 13:29, 12 October 2018
Police arrested 19 people on suspicion of conspiring to sell Cass A drugs after raids in Kent and London.
This was part of a crackdown on criminal networks in urban centres who take their activities into smaller towns and rural areas. This is called county lines.
Suppliers will use a single telephone line to supply Class A drugs including heroin and crack cocaine.
Warrants were carried out in areas including Medway, Brixton, Charlton and Eltham between October 9 and 11 as part of an ongoing investigation.
Eighteen men and one woman aged between 18 and 55 were taken into custody on suspicion of conspiring to sell class A drugs.
Officers also seized knives, cash and packets suspected of containing crack cocaine and heroin.
A number of people identified through the course of the operation, who have been offered safeguarding advice and support.
Superintendent Tracey Quiller of Kent Police said: "The enforcement action carried out this week shows that we will not hesitate to cross county boundaries to target those suspected of bringing criminality into Kent.
"Drugs ruin lives and we are dedicated to removing county line networks in order to prevent the exploitation of vulnerable people and the significant harm these offences cause to our communities.
"It is important to remember that the organised supply of class A drugs is a national issue and the increased prevalence of county lines and the associated violence it brings is not unique to Kent.
"Nevertheless tackling drug-related crime is a priority for Kent Police and I would urge the public to act as our eyes and ears by reporting any suspicious behaviour.
"The best advice is to trust your instincts. If somebody shows signs of mistreatment or if a child seems to be travelling long distances or is unfamiliar with a locality, please report it to us.
"Even if someone isn’t involved in county lines drug dealing, they may be being exploited in some other way so it is always worth speaking out.
"By continuing to work together we not only ensure Kent remains a safe place to live, work and visit, but we are also getting the message through to criminals that there is no hiding place from the law in Kent."
Drug liaison officers are working with treatment providers to ensure those affected by the misuse of drugs are supported.
Police are also working with local schools to protect young people at risk of exploitation.
Theresa May said that the Home Office was taking action and that one person in Birmingham involved was jailed for 14 years after pleading guilty to modern slavery.
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