Twelve arrested following early morning raids in Chester and Merseyside
Early morning raids on Tuesday in Chester and Merseyside resulted in 12 arrests as part of an operation targeting serious and organised crime.
Officers from Chester’s local policing unit – supported by Merseyside Police – targeted eight properties as dawn broke on Tuesday 8 March 2022. Seven of the addresses were in Chester and one was in Merseyside.
Nine men and three women aged between 25 and 47 are currently in being questioned on suspicion of conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin.
A quantity of what is believed to be class A drugs were recovered.
The arrests are part of a twelve-month investigation into a suspected county lines organised crime group (OCG) operating from Merseyside and travelling into Chester to supply class A drugs.
People from Chester were also alleged to have been involved in the supply of drugs as part of the OCG.
County lines is the term used to describe how organised crime gangs export illegal drugs into areas across the United Kingdom and use mobile phones to facilitate the onward supply.
Criminals are known to exploit vulnerable adults and children to move – and often store – drugs and money on their behalf.
Detective Sergeant Stuart Needham, of Chester’s proactive team who led the investigation, said: “This morning’s strike action focused on individuals who are believed to be involved in a county lines conspiracy.
“The operation centred on one organised crime group who are suspected of travelling from Merseyside to supply crack cocaine and heroin to drug users in our city.
“County lines is a well-known term that involves drug dealers preying on vulnerable people and children. It can ultimately leave people in fear and can destroy lives while ruining communities.
“Today shows people in our community that we will act on information that is reported to us and will be relentless in our pursuit of individuals we believe to be involved in drug activity.
“If you believe drug criminality is taking place in your neighbourhood please report it to us and we will do the rest.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, John Dwyer said: “Policing operations like this one send out a clear message that we are making Cheshire a hostile place for criminals.
“In my Police and Crime Plan, preventing and tackling crime and protecting vulnerable and at-risk people are key priorities, and policing activities like this demonstrate how the Constabulary is achieving them.
“I hope today’s operation which has seen a large quantity of drugs, and serious criminals, taken off our streets reassures residents that we are doing all we can to make our county as safe as it can possibly be.
“This week, the Children’s Society have launched their #LookCloser campaign, encouraging us all to look out for signs that children and young people are being exploited. OCGs running their county lines operations use this tactic. If we can all look out for one another, we can help steer children and young people away from this type of behaviour.”
To report serious and organised anonymously please call 0800 555 111 or visit the Crimestoppers website Independent UK charity taking crime information anonymously | Crimestoppers (crimestoppers-uk.org)
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