Police target suspected drug-dealing network in dawn London raids – The Guardian

Police have targeted what they believe to be a violent drug-dealing network, arresting 14 suspects in dawn raids and seizing what is believed to be a handgun and large amounts of class A drugs.

More than 180 officers raided 15 properties on Wednesday morning, and senior police figures believe violent crime could drop in parts of London following the intelligence-led operation.

The bulk of the drugs were being supplied in New Cross, south-east London, police said.

Groups of officers wearing helmets used specialist entry kits to break down doors at sunrise in Lewisham, south-east London, Southwark, south London, and Wembley, north-west London.

At one address in New Cross, an occupant threw suspected class A drugs out of the window, but the package was caught by an approaching officer.

DS Andy Furphy said: “The operation has gone very successfully, we found drugs at all 15 addresses we searched.

“The men involved are men of violence, and drugs are intrinsically linked to violence. They are causing real harm and are the people we were after. I think this will significantly impact violent crime in this part of London.”

Twelve addresses were raided in Lewisham, two in Southwark and one in Wembley.

Officers found what appeared to be a handgun wrapped in a sock, along with large amounts of cocaine, heroin and crack cocaine.

Some suspects were linked to gangs, were known to carry knives and had been involved in violent crime in the past, police said.

Detectives are investigating the network for “county lines” activity, to find out if drugs were being taken outside the capital and supplied to neighbouring areas.

Geeta Subramaniam-Mooney, the director of public protection and safety at Lewisham council, said she hoped the operation would reduce crime in the area and deter others from falling into drug dealing.

She said she had been working to educate teenagers about the dangers, saying: “It’s so hard for kids once they’re in these criminal networks to get out.”