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8 April 2014, 12:21
19 people have been arrested after police carried out early morning raids in Ipswich and London.
Suffolk Police went into 15 properties as part of a major operation to target class A drug dealing groups operating in Ipswich.
It's part of reflecting the priorities within the Police & Crime Commissioner’s Police & Crime Plan.
The warrants have been carried out by officers over the past two days at addresses in Ipswich and London.
Suffolk response officers joined their colleagues from the county Territorial Support Teams, dog unit, ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) team, Scorpion team officers and the Suffolk & Norfolk Serious & Organised Crime Unit to execute the warrants, with all of those arrested being taken into custody at Martlesham Police Investigation Centre for questioning.
The operation began on Sunday night (6 April) when police officers stopped a vehicle on the A12 at Copdock that was believed to be travelling up from London to Ipswich.
Four people – a 17-year-old boy and a 29-year-old man from south-east London, a 20-year-old woman from Ipswich and a 22-year-old woman from Woolwich – were arrested on suspicion of possession of class A drugs with intent to supply.
Then, yesterday morning (7 April) police carried out warrants at seven premises in London and four in Ipswich. A further nine people were arrested - a 37-year-old woman, a 34-year-old woman, a 47-year-old man, a 43-year-old man, a 40-year-old man and a 31-year-old man, all from Ipswich, and a 45-year-old man, a 19-year-old woman and a 17-year-old boy from London.
This morning police carried out warrants at four further addresses in Ipswich and detained a total of six people, all from Ipswich, including a 49-year-old man, a 40-year-old man, a 36-year-old man, a 33-year-old man, a 38-year-old woman and a 16-year-old boy.
The six arrested this morning and four people arrested previously remain in custody at Martlesham, two have been charged and the remaining seven have been bailed to return to police between Thursday 8 and Monday 19 May.
Most of those arrested were detained on suspicion of possession with intent to supply, or conspiracy to supply, class A drugs.
The activity comes following a long-term investigation into heroin and crack cocaine dealing in Ipswich linked to London-based networks operating in the town.
The investigation started in autumn 2013 and since then has gathered evidence that has led to these days of activity and arrests.
Chief Constable Douglas Paxton said; "Today is all about providing reassurance to communities in Ipswich that we are taking action against those suspected of being involved in dealing class A drugs. We recognise that this is an issue that can be linked to crime and anti-social behaviour that affects the lives of residents and this operation is designed to send a strong message that we will deal with this type of criminality.
"Safer Neighbourhood Team officers will now be visiting the areas where the warrants have taken place to talk to residents about what has been happening and give the opportunity to ask any questions or to pass on information.”
Detective Superintendent Steve Mattin, of Suffolk & Norfolk’s Serious & Organised Crime Unit, who is overseeing the operation, said; "The past two days have been very successful in terms of arrests and finds. In addition to detaining 19 people in connection with the supply of heroin and crack cocaine in the town we have also seized several thousand pounds worth of drugs and recovered weapons, cash and mobile phones that will assist with this ongoing investigation.
"A lot of work has already gone into this, and there is a lot more ahead, but we are pleased with progress to date and we hope a number of charges will follow.
"We know that class A dealing and drug use is often linked to serious acquisitive crime such as robberies and burglaries and tackling the dealers is a key part of our continuing efforts to reduce crime in the county.”
Detective Inspector Gary Bloomfield, also of Suffolk & Norfolk’s Serious & Organised Crime Unit, who organised and ran the operation on the ground said; "Over the past few days we have had a large number of officers involved in these warrants. This morning four teams of eight officers carried out the second day of action with warrants at four addresses in Ipswich, simultaneously at 7.15am this morning, with six arrests being made.
"All of those arrested over the past few days will be interviewed and our enquiries will continue.”
To date two people have been charged with drugs offences– a 20-year-old woman from Ipswich and a 17-year-old boy from south-east London - and they have been detained to appear at Ipswich Magistrates Court this morning, Tuesday 8 April.