Arrests in Ilford and East Ham as police target suspected county lines gang
- Credit: MPS
Seven men and a woman have been arrested during raids by officers investigating child exploitation linked to county lines activity.
Three properties in Ilford and one in East Ham were targeted in an operation aimed at disrupting a suspected organised crime gang operating in east London.
The four east London addresses were raided at the same time, alongside the production of two men already in prison.
The men and woman, whose ages range from 19 to 56, were arrested on suspicion of offences including conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, modern slavery and human trafficking.
The raids on Thursday, June 17 saw officers from the Met's central specialist crime squad team up with the north east command, which includes officers covering Newham.
Det Insp Laura Hillier, from specialist crime, said: "This morning’s activity is a culmination of months of hard work by officers from the modern slavery and child exploitation unit."
According to police, searches at the addresses continue, but officers have seized a large quantity of cash and Class B drugs.
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The raids form part of a wider probe launched in October after officers identified a ring of people allegedly involved in drug supply across east London and Essex.
The investigation led officers to rescue children who were at risk from a suspected organised crime group.
A Met spokesperson said the youngsters have been safeguarded and are being looked after by specialist officers.
Det Insp Hillier said: "We know county lines activity is closely linked to violence that we see on the streets of London and in other parts of the United Kingdom."
All those arrested have been taken to east London police stations.
Anyone with information about drug-related crime can call the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Young people with information or who wish to learn about the consequences of drug crime can visit fearless.org.