34 held in dawn raids as police smash East End ‘drugs network’ gang
PUBLISHED: 10:16 27 April 2016 | UPDATED: 12:36 27 April 2016
This is the moment police bust into an apartment at dawn this-morning in a three-day operation aimed at smashing a violent drugs network in London’s East End.
Police arrested 34 suspects, including two women, who have been held in custody after a series of dawn raids today, yesterday and Monday.
It follows a six-month under cover Met Police intelligence-gathering operation targeting gang crime and drug-running.
The last 12 out of 40 addresses were raided today—including a flat in a social housing block on the Isle of Dogs.
Officers from the Met’s Trident Command wearing flack jackets and helmets busted down the front-door of the fifth-floor apartment in Roffey Street—in the shadow of Canary Wharf office towers—at 5.30am and screaming “police, police”.
They found what appeared to be plants being grown in pots on the bedroom floor under daylight arc lights connected to the mains and surrounded by reflective foil.
A couple asleep on a mattress on the floor of the living room woken up by the raid were arrested and led off to a waiting police van.
They were among the 34 people arrested over three days of raids which targeted 37 suspects at addresses in east London.
“This operation has taken out a criminal network which can’t operate effectively now,” Trident’s Det Chief Insp Lee Hill told the East London Advertiser during today’s operation.
This is aimed at drugs and violence. The gang operating in Tower Hamlets has been dismantled to the point where they can no longer function properly.”
Police also uncovered an illicit “cannabis factory” at an address in yesterday’s operation and also recovered 1,000 wraps of Class A crack cocaine at other addresses, with a ‘street’ value of around £10,000, as well as £5,000 cash.
“Some of those who are involved in the drugs network are violent by nature,” Det Chief Insp Hill added.
“Going in like this is part of our tactics with the element of surprise. We need to gain entry as quickly as possible to secure the evidence.
“There’s always a danger that we might lose the evidence if we don’t get in quickly.”
Police have charged 22 people so far with offences involving illegal drugs.
They obtained search warrants from magistrates earlier this week, once they had gathered enough evidence in an operation that has been running since November. This gave them legal powers to bust into premises without an invitation.
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