£808k worth of drugs and £569k seized by Op Raptor in a year
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Specialist officers took a weekly average of £15,000 worth of drugs and £10,000 in drug money off the streets of Essex in 2021.
In total, officers from Op Raptor - the Essex Police specialist drugs unit - seized £808,000 of drugs and £569,000 in cash during last year.
More than 330 people were charged with offences and put before the court.
Of those, 148 were sentenced to an average of three and a half years in prison. More are due to be sentenced in the coming weeks and months.
Whilst our work can often focus on enforcement, Op Raptor also has specialist safeguarding officers whose focus is on supporting young or vulnerable people involved in drugs and serious violence.
In 2021, 97 people were safeguarded – meaning they were lifted out of a life of crime and provided with support through social services.
One of the main lines we targeted in 2021 was the Dollar Line, which was supplying Class A drugs into the Southend, Westcliff and Leigh areas.
The line was a focus during a week of action in October. During that week, 19 people were arrested in connection with the investigation into the line.
Among those jailed in 2021 were the ‘Mali Boys’ who were jailed for a combined 18 years.
Brian William, Hashi Abdi, Oussema Oubari, Munta Hoque and Azman Ahamad were members of the group which was supplying Class A drugs into south Essex.
A large amount of Class A drugs was recovered from a car the group were travelling in on the A127 travelling to Southend.
More than £3,000 in cash was seized during a warrant which we obtained, alongside seven mobile phones and just under 3,000 bottles of prescription medication which was being used to mix with the Class A drugs.
Dealers Joshua Mitchell and Dillon Jules were both handed five years and seven months in jail after admitting a string of drugs charges.
The pair had set up a drugs business using WhatsApp but were shut down by specialist officers within six months.
Mitchell and Jules were both handed five years and seven months in jail after admitting a string of drugs charges when they were sentenced in October.
In north Essex, officers have again shown there is no hiding place for people we suspect of being involved in drug dealing.
In the first week on January, officers from Op Raptor North travelled to Liverpool to execute warrants as part of an investigation into the supply of Class A drugs from the north west into Clacton.
As a result of that investigation, Benjamin Carter, 34 of Spucewood Close, in Liverpool, has been charged with two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
Leslie Major, 54, of Salmon Close, Clacton, has also been charged in connection with our investigation.
They are both due to appear at Chelmsford Crown Court this month.
As a result of a warrant carried out by officers in London Road, in Colchester, on Thursday 20 January, Akinwade Thomas has been charged with being concerned in the supply of heroin and crack cocaine.
He appeared at Colchester Magistrates’ Court on Friday 21 January. He is now due to stand trial at Chelmsford Crown Court on February 18.
Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Neal Miller, of the Essex Police Serious Violence Unit, said:
“The numbers speak for themselves – last year we took hundreds of thousands of pounds of drugs and cash off the streets of Essex. “The work the teams carry out has a direct impact on drug operations which are set up to prey upon vulnerable people in our communities. It disrupts them, it disrupts their business and above all, it saves lives. “We have been consistent; drug dealing, and drug dealers, are not welcome in Essex. If you think you won’t get caught and you’re above the law, you’re wrong. “In actual fact, you will be oblivious to our teams mounting cases containing overwhelming evidence against you and it is likely you will have few options but to admit your guilt when we put you in front of a court.”
T/DCI Miller added:
“We have already started 2022 as we mean to go on. Our officers work 24 hours a day, seven days a week to keep our communities safe and tackle those who we believe pose the highest harm to society. “For us, that means focusing our efforts on those who are involved in the supply of Class A drugs and the serious violence which is sadly associated with that lifestyle.”