A drug dealing gang whose reach stretched from Plymouth to Scotland and whose ringleaders were earning more than £1 million per year has been targeted in dozens of dawn raids.
Police from six forces carried out 29 warrants on Wednesday, arresting 16 people and seizing around £150,000 in cash as well as 20kg of class A and B drugs.
The raids were the result of an investigation into drug dealing in Hackney, north London, that was launched last year.
Police discovered that the gang had supply routes all over the UK, covering Plymouth, Bristol, London and as far north as Aberdeen.
Officers from the Met, Kent Police, Essex Police, Avon and Somerset Police, Devon and Cornwall Police and Police Scotland all took part in the raids on Wednesday.
The drugs recovered were heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine and cannabis, and a gun was found at one of the addresses visited in east London.
Detective Inspector Tom Pearse, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said: “The supply and distribution of drugs doesn’t contain itself within the M25.
“It’s a fluid and toxic commodity that leaks out into the Home Counties and beyond, often leaving a trail of violence in its wake.
“By collaborating with other police forces, we have removed those in the middle levels, as well as those at the top of the chain who were making in excess of a million pounds a year.”
The 16 people arrested are aged between 25 and 43 and were held on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs; and one has also been arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm.