Enforcement work by the County Line and Gang Team has also resulted in 40 charges linked to the distribution of heroin and crack cocaine. Officers executed 28 search warrants and street disruption by plain clothes and uniformed patrols led to almost 30 stop and search checks. Specialist teams to tackle county lines are in operation in areas including Thanet, Maidstone, Medway and Sheerness and throughout this period police also made 19 drug seizures and recovered almost £20,000 in cash.
Detective Superintendent Mike Worrall said: ‘Through robust and proactive enforcement we are continuing to detect, disrupt and dismantle an increasing number of county lines running into Kent. We currently have 64 active lines (down from 82 in July) and rest assured our dedicated teams are working day and night to identify and arrest those intent on dealing Class A drugs and causing so much harm to our communities.‘
In Chatham, 52 wraps of Class A drugs were seized after an 18-year-old man was stopped on 25 September by plain clothes officers near Albany Road. The drugs were recovered from the suspect’s underwear after he was strip searched in custody. He is currently on bail, pending further enquiries.
On 24 September, a knife, £800 in cash and 11 street deals of cocaine and cannabis were recovered after police stopped a 24-year-old man in Maidstone High Street. Xhenson Duka, of Shakespeare Drive, Harrow, Greater London, was arrested and charged with two counts of possessing drugs with intent to supply and with possessing a knife in a public place. He is currently remanded in custody to appear before Maidstone Crown Court on 26 October.
Sentences passed by the courts in September included four years for a Maidstone dealer, who was convicted after officers provided crucial phone evidence of his operation. This showed Jordan Gayle, aged 21, had been making top ups at a local shop to a pay-as-you-go burner phone, which he used to run a county line and advertise the sale of heroin and crack cocaine. Gayle pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court to two counts of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply and was sentenced on Tuesday 8 September.
A teenage dealer from London, who was caught by officers in a vehicle in Chatham with a samurai sword and drugs, was also jailed last month. Zaqiel Gardnar, of Highbrook Road, London, was sentenced to two years and four months after admitting drugs and driving offences.
The figures for September incorporated a coordinated week of intensification (from 14-18 September) which involved the National Crime Agency and other police forces, including the Metropolitan Police and British Transport Police.
Det Supt Worrall added: ‘Working with our partners, including other police forces remains vital in our efforts to tackle this destructive trade and bring offenders to justice. We also continue to need your help, so remember to report any suspicious behaviour. By continuing to work together we are getting the message through to criminals that if you try and deal drugs in Kent it is only a matter of time before we will find and arrest you, and bring you before the courts.’