A drug dealing gang suspected of distributing cocaine across East Sussex and conspiring to murder was busted this morning (Wednesday, November 30), poliec said.
Some 130 officers and specialist staff, led by detectives from the force’s Serious Organised Crime Unit, arrested six men and two women at addresses across the county, including Hastings, St Leonards, Bexhill and Peacehaven, at around 6am, according to police.
The suspects have been arrested on a number of crimes including conspiracy to murder, money laundering, and dealing A-class drugs, a police spokesman said.
Detective Inspector Till Sanderson said: “These arrests are significant. They are the culminating phase of this major operation, another example of the way in which, working with our law enforcement partners, we are constantly attacking organised crime and frustrating its efforts to become embedded in our communities.”
The ten people arrested according to police:
• A man aged 23 and a woman aged 20 were arrested in Hastings. The man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine, money laundering and conspiracy to murder and the woman was arrested on suspicion of money laundering
• A man aged 24 was arrested in St Leonards, on suspicion of conspiracy to supply a firearm and of suspicion of possession of cannabis and a Class A drug
• A man aged 39 and a woman aged 37 were arrested in St Leonards. The man was arrested on suspicion of money laundering and conspiracy to supply drugs and the woman was arrested on suspicion of money laundering, and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice
• A man aged 39 was arrested in Hastings, on suspicion of conspiracy to supply cocaine and money laundering
• A man aged 36 was arrested in Peacehaven and a man aged 39 were arrested in Bexhill, on suspicion of conspiracy to supply cocaine
• A man aged 41 was arrested in Rotherhithe, south London, on suspicion of conspiracy to supply cocaine, MDMA, amphetamine and methoxamine, and conspiracy to commit money laundering
• A man aged 36 was arrested in Chislehurst, south east London, on suspicion of conspiracy to murder
A police spokesman said the two south London arrests and subsequent searches were carried out by specialist teams from the National Crime Agency on behalf of Sussex Police.
Computers, phones and documents were seized for examination, and more than £10,000 cash was found in a safe which police had to force open at the address where the 24-year old man was arrested in St Leonards, according to the spokesman.
Police said all those arrested are currently in custody for interview and further enquiries.
Even before the arrests on 30 November, the investigation had netted 39 other arrests across Sussex, seizure of more than £2.3m worth of drugs, a loaded Walther revolver and a ‘Tech 9’ machine pistol with ammunition and silencer, capable of firing more than 900 rounds a minute, police said.
The police operation, following a complex investigation which has been under way for more than a year, coincides with the launch of a strategy aimed at enlisting public help in further clamping down on drug dealing.
“Today we are also announcing further action to heighten public awareness and support for this work,” Det Insp Sanderson said.
“Police social media messaging on Facebook and Twitter will signpost to local drug and alcohol diversion schemes in Sussex, inviting the public to get involved in debate and discussion with us and other agencies on the impact of drugs misuse, and including on-line graphics showing the journey drug production takes before it ends up in the hands of the user.
“Special posters and leaflets will be distributed locally around the locations of future drugs arrests, explaining to local residents and businesses that positive police action has been taken.
“In addition local news media and social media will be informed of this and of cases where convicted criminals later have their profits stripped from them under proceeds of crime confiscation laws.
“Within the force, all officers and staff are receiving special briefings to enable them to support the advice and information being given to the public.
“The devastating effect of drug misuse can have a much wider impact than simply on the person who takes them. It can corrode the quality of life for local communities and effect the health of those who drawn into it.
“If you have any information or suspicions about drug dealing where you live or work, please let us know by reporting online here.”
For further information and advice on drugs misuse go to East Sussex – Change, Live, Grow.
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