Drugs, cash and handguns seized in Essex

Two police wearing helmets and specialist clothing break down a door, Essex

Essex Police have seized cash, drugs and weapons between January and March 2022 - Credit: Essex Police

Drugs worth a potential £5.7million have been seized before they could be distributed via dealers on Essex streets.

More than 43kg of cocaine, 1kg of heroin, 13kg of cannabis, and 2,426 cannabis plants have been seized across the county in three months.

Police officer wearing blue gloves counting cash, Essex

Essex Police has seized cash suspected to be the proceeds of drug deals or suspected to have been stolen - Credit: Essex Police

More than £1million in cash suspected to be the proceeds of drug deals or suspected to have been stolen has also been seized by Essex Police, along with 18 handguns and 150 rounds of ammunition.

Between January and March, 83 people were arrested and 41 were charged, mostly with conspiracy to supply and possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.

During the same period, 24 people were convicted for drug-related offences. On average, sentences were for five years and three months.

Detective Superintendent Lee Morton of the Essex Police Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: “Officers have seized a significant amount of drugs in a short space of time, including cocaine, heroin and cannabis destined for the streets of Essex which were prevented from reaching them.

“I’m also delighted that we recovered more than £1million in cash, which will have put a huge dent in the profits of those seeking to exploit and harm vulnerable people and, through the asset realisation scheme, can be used to fund future investments to help make our communities safer.

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“Together with the large number of weapons and ammunition seized, this all means our county and the wider Eastern region are safer as a result of our work.

“But we can’t do these warrants without your help so please tell us if you think someone is involved in drugs in any way. You can report information to us via our website at www.essex.police.uk or anonymously to Crimestoppers.”

The work was carried out by officers from the community and local policing teams, working closely with specialists from other teams, including the Operational Support Group, Dog Section and Serious and Organised Crime Unit.

In March, police set up a checkpoint at Stansted airport to educate commercial drivers about the signs that children might be victims of exploitation, and carried out health and wellbeing checks on their passengers.

County Lines drug dealers are known to use taxis, coaches and trains to move people and drugs around the country.