County Lines drug dealers targeted as part of operation

March 18, 2024 - 509 views

Drug dealers in North Wales were recently targeted as part of a national police operation.

A number of arrests were made, criminal gangs were disrupted, and a significant amount of cash, drugs and weapons were seized.

It came as part of County Lines Intensification Week that ran from Monday March 4th to Friday, March 8th which saw forces across the country taking part to crack down on drug traffickers and safeguarding vulnerable people, including children.

County Lines is the term used to describe drug dealing where mobile phones are used to supply drugs from large cities to towns and rural areas.

Lines are run by ‘Line Holders’ and the runners, often vulnerable people, deliver the drugs.

The system of drug distribution leads to serious violence and exploitation.

The week of action in North Wales resulted in 26 arrests, Class A, B and C drugs seized, almost £10,000 in cash seized, various weapons including machetes, knives and air rifles recovered, 42 vulnerable people visited and mass engagement with over 2,000 young people

During the week, officers worked alongside colleagues at Merseyside Police, British Transport Police (BTP) and partner agencies, including councils and housing associations to dismantle and disrupt criminal gangs.

Activity included warrants, safeguarding visits to vulnerable people and joint operations – one of which took place in the Pwllheli area as part of Merseyside Police’s Project Medusa, set up to tackle County Lines drug dealing.

The joint operation resulted in officers stop and searching a 25-year-old man after sighting a suspected drug deal during a plain clothed operation.

Initially, a small quantity of cannabis was found, which resulted in a further search of a property he was seen leaving, where officers seized a large quantity of cannabis, offensive weapons, drugs paraphilia and approximately £3,000 in cash.

The 25-year-old, who is from the London area, was arrested on suspicion of drug supply and possession of cannabis.

Another plain clothes operation in Rhyl also resulted in the arrest of a 21-year-old man suspected to be concerned in the supply of Class A drugs, and the arrests of a 47-year-old man and a 23-year-old on suspicion of driving whilst under the influence of drugs.

A further five people were stop searched and found to be in possession of drugs.

This came following a warrant at a flat in Llanrwst where drugs including what is believed to be heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, crack cocaine and cannabis were seized, which resulted in a 36-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman being arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply.

Officers in Wrexham, along with BTP, were targeting those who use the railway to transport drugs into North Wales and travelled on the rail network between Wrexham, Chester and West Mercia to disrupt criminals and provide advice and reassurance to travellers.

Wrexham city officers also successfully secured three closure orders at addresses causing high demand due to anti-social behaviour and made two arrests for suspected drugs offences whilst on bike patrol.

Community safety officers carried out visits to holiday parks, hotels and licenced premises across all areas of the force to provide advice on the subject of County Lines and how to spot the signs.

Neighbourhood policing teams and school liaison officers also held activities to engage with over 2,000 young people across the region over the week.

Chief Superintendent Sian Beck said: “County lines drug dealing is linked to the most serious violence, which causes misery and fear in our communities.

“The week was a great success, and I am grateful for all the hard work that went into the operation from all the officers involved both in North Wales and across the region.

“A significant amount of cash, drugs, and various weapons are now off our streets thanks to the work of those involved.

“This recent activity was only snapshot of the work we do week in week out across to tackle County Lines gangs who exploit and recruit the most vulnerable people in our communities to store and sell drugs. They are intimated, coerced, threatened and often subject to violence.

“Anyone who abuses vulnerable people and causes fear to our communities should expect firm and relentless action to be taken against them.

“Making North Wales the safest place to live, work and visit remains our top priority.”