51 arrests and £3m of cannabis seized in significant operation
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Officers across Essex have carried out a series of warrants and arrested more than 50 people as part of an unprecedented nationwide co-ordinated operation targeting the growth and sale of cannabis.
Throughout June, and in the months leading up to it, we carried out warrants as part of Op Mille, which targeted organised crime groups (OCGs) involved in the sale of the drug.
In total in Essex, 34 warrants were executed, 51 people were arrested, three firearms, a crossbow, and other weapons were seized, as well as more than 6,500 cannabis plants worth almost £3 million.
Op Mille involved all 43 police forces in England and Wales, working with Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs), and partner agencies.
The aim was to execute more 1,000 warrants across the country to unearth and disrupt OCGs and their illegal revenue streams.
Detective Chief Superintendent Lucy Morris said:
“This operation has struck a significant blow to the organised sale of cannabis in Essex.
“The results seen here, and across the country, have caused significant disruption to these networks, not only by removing streams of illicit income, but also highlighting a pattern of exploitation and other dangerous criminal activity.
“That means they’re no longer able to pollute your community with drugs, pose a danger to your friends or family, or fuel crime in your neighbourhood.
“Intelligence gathered through this enforcement will help us and our partners better understand how these networks operate, meaning we are better placed than ever to target those involved.”
Det Chief Supt Morris added that the sale of cannabis goes hand-in-hand with violence and exploitation:
“The growing and selling of cannabis on an industrial scale is intrinsically linked to other criminal and gang activities, including violence on our streets and the exploitation of young and vulnerable people.
“We know it fuels other criminal activity, like county lines and other drug trafficking, modern slavery, and human trafficking.
“And the sheer size of some cannabis factories means they actually damage the properties they’re in, leading them to become dangerous as a fire risk, and because of the stealing of electricity from neighbours, fumes and water damage”
But, she added, Essex Police is getting results in tackling this issue:
“We have a variety of teams who carry out warrants and tackle drug dealers, whether it be our specialist drugs gang team Op Raptor, our Serious and Organised Crime Unit, or our Community Policing and response teams who deal with and respond to ongoing issues in your community.
“In the last year we’ve detected more than 1,500 more drug trafficking offences – many of which were as a result of positive, proactive police work and intelligence gathering.
“And in the last year, we’ve solved more drugs offences too.”
If you have any information about drug dealing where you live you can let us know by submitting a report on our website or by using our online Live Chat service available Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) between 10am-9pm.