Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Essex Police: Operation Raptor make 272 arrests in first six months

ESSEX Police are sending a very simple message to dealers who are intent on bringing drugs into the county as new figures reveal the impact their specialist teams are having on drug supply across Essex.

Fresh statistics show, between January 1 and June 30, Op Raptor units seized an average of £1,150 a day.

In the six months to June 2021, a total of £207,517 in cash was seized, 272 arrests made, 104 warrants executed, and 27 weapons seized.

The average sentence in that time for a perpetrator brought to justice through the courts was almost five years.

The statistics show the force’s commitment to driving drugs out of the county – as well as the serious violence which organised gangs perpetrate.

A spokesperson said: “In that time, we have also secured the closure of 11 county lines using drug dealing telecommunications restriction orders which disrupted drug dealers’ business literally overnight.

These phone numbers were being used to sell cocaine and cannabis in Thurrock, Brentwood, Basildon and Southend.

“We have also seen the ringleaders of an organised crime group in Harlow sentenced to a combined 40 years in prison.

The operation was estimated to have earned them at least £500,000 which was stashed in Bitcoin or laundered through a pub one of the leaders ran as a licensee.

“Drug dealer Dane Dacas was also taken off the streets of Southend by our South Raptor team and jailed for five years and 218 days.

The 28-year-old was arrested in his car in a pre-planned police operation.

A search of his car revealed 142 wraps of heroin and cocaine and a lock knife.

“Further warrants were then executed on addresses associated with Dacas in London and Southchurch Avenue, Southend, where further wraps of heroin and cocaine were recovered, along with the drugs line ‘burner’ phone and three SIM cards.

He had operated the ‘Marlo’ drug line in Southend.

The message from Detective Superintendent Rob Kirby, head of the Essex Police serious violence unit, is simple: 

“Drugs are not welcome in Essex.

“We have specialist teams in place throughout the county to tackle this problem and the message to those who are intent on coming into Essex to sell drugs and take advantage of vulnerable people is very simple. We are watching you.

“My teams have a number of sophisticated techniques to catch you. You will be oblivious to the fact we will be building a case with overwhelming evidence until we come for you, remand you and put you before the courts.

“I would continue to encourage the public to give us information on drug dealing – number plates of cars, CCTV images, names or any information you have or see. You might not see immediate police activity, but we are constantly working in the background to build these secure criminal cases which is enabling the court to impose hefty sentences.”

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