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40 suspected drug runners arrested and kilos of cocaine and heroin seized


An alleged crime ring was smashed in a series of raids resulting in the arrests of 40 people and the seizure of kilos of cocaine, heroin and amphetamines.

The two day operation, across June 14 and 15, saw officers from Merseyside Police, Devon and Cornwall Police and the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit co-operate to target addresses in the Torquay, Paignton, Teignmouth and Newton Abbot areas. The raids were part of an effort to tackle county lines dealers from Merseyside plying their trade on the south coast.

As well as the arrests, officers seized “multiple kilograms” of cocaine, heroin and amphetamines, a “significant” amount of cash, a number of bladed weapons, 12 vehicles, mobile phones and electronic scales.

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Those detained were arrested on suspicion of offences including:

  • Possession with intent to supply class A and B drugs or being concerned in the supply of drugs
  • Possession of an offensive weapon
  • Money laundering
  • Drug driving and driving while disqualified

Devon and Cornwall Police said of those arrested, four were charged with offences of possession with intent to supply drugs and being concerned in the supply of drugs, although the force did not confirm their identities.

A spokeswoman for Merseyside Police said the force had assisted their colleagues down south as part of Project Medusa, an initiative aimed at tackling so called County Lines drug dealing involving Merseyside based crooks.

Project Medusa’s Inspector Darren Wallace said: “Organised crime is hugely damaging to our communities, often involving intimidation, violence and creating fear and it is these criminals who run County Lines. Criminals involved in organised crime have no thought for anyone other than themselves, and their criminal intent and greed.



Images released by police after a series of raids targeting a crime ring supplying drugs between Merseyside and Devon and Cornwall
Images released by police after a series of raids targeting a crime ring supplying drugs between Merseyside and Devon and Cornwall

“Project Medusa is dedicated to cutting these County Lines dead and as this operation has shown, regional boundaries do not matter. We work with partners in other forces to trace those organised criminals responsible and help those who may be exploited by these gangs.”

Detective Inspector Mark Whitaker, Regional County Lines Coordinator at the SW ROCU, said: “Joint operations like this are key to effectively target County Lines drug dealing, a crime type that relies on crossing geographical boundaries to exploit vulnerable people for profit.

“The intelligence gathered over the two days will enable us to continue to target and disrupt organised crime networks intent on supplying drugs and exploiting young and vulnerable people in our region.”





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