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Early-hours drugs raids: 17 arrested

Thursday, 19 December 2013

A SERIES of early morning raids ended with 17 suspected drug dealers connected to a notorious South London gang arrested.

More than 400 officers from Trident Gang Crime Command and the Lambeth force hit the streets at around 5am on Tuesday in one of the largest gang crackdowns this year.

Around 21 properties spanning Lambeth, Croydon and Sutton were searched. The majority arrested are believed to belong to the GAS gang, which operates out of Angell Town in the north of Brixton.

All of those arrested were suspected of dealing hard drugs, robbery or immigration offences. Police believe there are eight prominent gangs in the borough. The main focus was on those peddling class-A drugs – such as crack cocaine and heroin – on the streets of Lambeth.

In early-hours darkness on Tuesday, hundreds of officers turned out across the borough for the co-ordinated drug busts.

One suspect was arrested with three ounces of crack cocaine – with a street value of £6,000 – and £2,000 in cash.

Another suspect, in his 30s, who had 45 rocks of crack cocaine stashed on his body, was arrested on Monday night and remains in police custody. A woman in her 30s was arrested for allegedly supplying class-A drugs.

Lambeth is one of 20 London boroughs deemed to have a problem with violent gangs.

At one address in Milkwood Road, dozens of Territorial Support Group officers took several attempts to smash through the front door. Inside, a large Rottweiler had to be removed from the terraced house before police could complete the search.

A woman was led away from the property after being arrested on suspicion of supplying class-A drugs. A man was also arrested for an unrelated offence. At other properties, police found “a tennis ball-sized” amount of what is thought to be heroin, as well as 60 crack rocks and cash.

Following the raids, police spent Tuesday combing estates and open spaces – such as Max Roach Park, in Brixton Road – for drugs and weapons.

Police also increased patrols around Angell Town and the Loughborough Estate in the aftermath of the raids.

Detective Chief Inspector Tim Champion, from Trident, said: “The criminal activity has blighted the local area, causing misery to residents and creating a hostile place to live due to the level of violence, antisocial behaviour and drug dealing by these gang members. “We have been working with officers from Lambeth for the past three months, and during that time we have executed a total of 57 warrants and made 52 arrests, of which all are known gang members. This has resulted in a significant reduction in serious youth violence, robbery, gun and knife crime.”

Police have denied there has been an increase in inter-gang tensions in the borough, despite several violent incidents in the last six months. They include a 17-year-old boy being shot in the head in September. Trident police have recovered two handguns and a shotgun from the borough over the last three months, as well as small quantities of drugs and blades.

Detective Superintendent Martin Huxley, from the Lambeth force, said: “Every person we believe to be involved in gangs is given the opportunity to seek a lifestyle away from gangs and offered the support to help them do that.

However, those who choose not to accept this offer can expect us to target them and their criminal lifestyle.”


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