Harlow man arrested as part of Operation Raptor

TEN people have been arrested so far during an operation targeting drug dealing in Southend, Basildon, Castle Point and Rochford.

The three weeks of action forms part of Operation Raptor, a team put together earlier this year to deal with gang-related issues and London dealers who come to Essex to sell class A drugs.

Since February 8, officers have been acting on intelligence to stop and search suspected dealers, execute search warrants at properties believed to be linked to dealing and stop check vehicles of interest.

On the first day of the operation a man was arrested after officers stopped the car in which he was travelling in London Road, Vange at around 3.30pm.

Benjamin Cran-Mensa, 20, of Hanworth Road, Hounslow was later charged with offering to supply crack cocaine and heroin and obstructing a constable in the execution of his duty. He appeared before magistrates in Basildon on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 and was remanded into custody.

The same day, six men were arrested after officers executed a warrant at a property in Chichester Road, Southend just after 2pm.

They were a 24-year-old man from London arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply class A drugs, a 21-year-old man from London arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply class A drugs and perverting the course of justice, a 20-year-old man from Croydon arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply class A drugs and possession of a knife, an 18-year-old man from Erith, Kent arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply class A drugs, a 24-year-old man from Leicester arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply class A drugs and a 22-year-old man from Leicester arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply class A drugs.

All six men have been released on bail pending further investigation until June 16, 2016.

On February 10, 2016, a 39-year-old woman and a 32-year-old man both from Southend wanted on suspicion of robbery were arrested following a stop check in Southchurch Road, Southend just before 11am. They were both released on bail pending further investigation until March 7 and 8, 2016 respectively.

The following day officers executed a search warrant at an address in the Queensway area of Southend at around 4.30pm.

A quantity of suspected class A drugs were seized and a 20-year-old man from Harlow was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply class A drugs and possession of cannabis. He has been released on bail pending further investigation until May 19, 2016.

Inspector Dave Richards from the Operation Raptor team said: “Drug dealers prey on and exploit the most vulnerable in our communities, taking over their homes and using them as a base from which to supply drugs. This not only exposes the already vulnerable to increased risk of harm but leads to the anti-social behaviour linked with drug dealing which is unpleasant for residents.

“Operation Border aims to tackle those who exploit the most vulnerable in our communities, including children, by disrupting and dismantling gangs, taking drugs out of circulation and making the south of our county a safer place.

“We’ve been linking in with partner agencies to provide support for those affected by the actions of drug dealers as well as working with the Crown Prosecution Service to bring offenders to justice before the courts.

“Drugs wreck and ruin lives and officers from Operation Raptor will use a variety of tactics to target those who travel to Essex to deal them.”

The team acts on intelligence to stop check suspected dealers and execute search warrants at premises thought to be linked to dealing.

Residents with information about drug dealing where they live can call Essex Police on 101. Anyone who would rather not speak to police can pass information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via the Crimestoppers website www.crimestoppers-uk.org

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