Cops smash ?100k-per-week drugs gang in dawn raids

Nine people from a Birmingham drugs gang peddling cocaine and heroin were arrested in a series of dawn raids by 240 officers this morning, Tuesday, May 23. Police estimate the illicit enterprise is worth around £100,000-per-week.

West Midlands Police's[1] County Lines Taskforce busted 16 homes, including addresses in Ward End[2], Hodge Hill[3], Tile Cross[4], Chelmsley Wood[5] and Grays in Essex, in one of their biggest operations. Suspects were held on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.

The criminal empire is thought to have generated up to £20,000 per-day. It was taking over one thousand calls every day from lines - named Potter, Diego, Rico and Figo - and served more than 200 drug users in the east of the city. Police said drugs lines are linked to organised crime, including kidnap and firearms offences in Birmingham.[6]

BirminghamLive joined a dozen officers at one of the raids, codenamed Operation Hunterian. Each raid was executed simultaneously at around 5am. Footage at a semi-detached home showed police bashing down its front door in Ward End. Glass is heard smashing as an officer shouts "police, stay where you are."

A drugs suspect is led away after a dawn raid by police

Police soon found a 26-year-old man asleep in a downstairs room of a family home. He was cuffed by officers and led away to an unmarked cop car.

Detective Inspector Phil Poole, from the taskforce who is in charge of today's operation, said: "We had over 240 police resources on duty to support the operation. We executed warrants under the Misuse of Drugs Act at 16 addresses.

"Individuals are operating four drugs lines within Birmingham East and Solihull[8] - namely the Potter line, Diego line, Rico line and Figo line. Lines that are being operated are taking over one thousand calls per day."

WMP's Chief Constable Craig Guildford told BirminghamLive: "This County Lines operation is making roughly £100,000-each-week. We are very determined on behalf of the community to close them down.

"They feed criminality - serious organised crime, burglary, robbery and knife crime. It's absolutely vital to make sure we respond to community intelligence."

Police smashed into a property in Ward End as part of the County Lines probe

He added: "These individuals blight local communities. Younger people are often involved in dealing at the local end. This operation has targeted that with our partners to try and divert some of those younger people, but most importantly has gone after the people in the middle and higher end of the market to remove the organised crime group."

Detective Chief Inspector Tom Hadley, who runs the West Midlands County Lines taskforce, added: "This is a culmination of a four-month investigation. It is an opportunity to make an impact in disrupting serious and organised crime in Birmingham and Solihull.

"There will continue to be lots of work afterwards in terms of protecting some of the vulnerable people who have been involved in the serious and organised crime group's activities."

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  1. ^ West Midlands Police's (
  2. ^ Ward End (
  3. ^ Hodge Hill (
  4. ^ Tile Cross (
  5. ^ Chelmsley Wood (
  6. ^ Birmingham. (
  7. ^ Lenville Waite 'stabbed brother Clifton to death then bought new clothes from Primark', court told (
  8. ^ Solihull (
  9. ^ Birmingham News (
  10. ^ Email Updates (