Drugs squad raids net 57 arrests as Northamptonshire Police join operation to crackdown on County Lines gangs
Operation Serpent swoops seize drugs worth thousands, cash and weapons
Drugs squad officers from Northamptonshire joined raids on county lines gangs which saw more than 50 people arrested.
Five regional forces backed up by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit also safeguarded more than 100 vulnerable people during the week-long crackdown.
Class A and Class B drugs worth thousands of pounds along with around £115,000 in cash at 20 weapons.
EMSOU’s Stuart Jones said: “County Lines drug dealing is a particularly brutal and damaging crime in which people can be psychologically manipulated as well as physically harmed in order to elicit the desired outcome of moving and selling drugs around the country.
“During our investigations we are always looking closer at those involved in this type of criminality in a bid to recognise when someone is being exploited.
“By identifying 119 people in the region as being vulnerable to this type of coercion and corruption, we are not only able to help these individuals find the support they need to escape the cycle of abuse, but we are also able to gain vital information around the way these gangs operate.
“We work together as the five forces of the East Midlands, through EMSOU and alongside colleagues across the country to tackle this sort of cross-border offending and through coordinated action such as this we can remove integral parts of these illicit networks and safeguard some very vulnerable people.”
County lines typically involves gangs selling their illicit products in other towns using a dedicated phone line. These offenders are often linked to serious violence and use intimidation, grooming and exploitation, particularly of young or vulnerable people, to run networks across the country.
Earlier this month, Northamptonshire Police revealed 17 members of an organised crime gang peddling drugs on the county's streets and exploiting children had been jailed for a total of 124 years as part on Operation Serpent.
The gang ran the Kay Line, actively recruiting and grooming kids in Northamptonshire to facilitate class A drug dealing.