Police seize thousands of cannabis plants in county lines crackdown
A total of 4,500 cannabis plants were seized by Gwent Police officers as part of a crackdown to disrupt county lines activity.
Two large-scale cannabis farms were dismantled, 18 kilograms of amphetamine recovered and £1,400 cash seized as part of the UK-wide county lines week of action.
Fourteen people were arrested and eight have been charged with offences relating to the supply, production or importation of Class A or B drugs, after operations held between Monday 9 October and Sunday 15 October.
Two people at risk of exploitation were also made safe.
A quantity of cocaine was located while mobile phones and cultivation equipment were removed by officers as part of the intensification activity.
Detective Inspector Ian Bartholomew said: “We’re working relentlessly to crack down on county lines, which bring misery to our communities in the form of drug dealing and violence.
“Those involved in county lines have adapted their approaches after persistent police pressure on their illegal activities by targeting the vulnerable in different areas of the country to run drugs for them.
“We’re dedicated to bringing those responsible for violence and exploitation to justice.
“There are many avenues available to us, including increased use of modern slavery legislation, to target line holders.”
County lines is a drugs distribution model using mobile phones where drugs are exported from major cities and imported into other areas, often using vulnerable children and adults.
Officers carried out warrants, under the Misue of Drugs Act, at addresses across the county, including in Newport, Cwmbran and Abercarn.
Officers discovered more than 4,450 cannabis plants at three addresses in Newport, dismantling two large-scale cultivations at former commercial buildings.
During warrants at two addresses in Cwmbran, police seized a kilogram of cannabis, a quantity of cocaine, £1,000 in cash and five weapons, along with firearms cartridges.
Officers arrested four people in connection with the supply of cannabis at an address in Newport.
A 47-year-old man from the Newport area was charged with possession of Class A and B drugs with the intent to supply after officers stopped a car in Newport.
As part of the intensification week, officers also highlighted the dangers of county lines involvement by speaking to children, parents, teachers and residents in Chepstow, Caldicot, Magor, Bargoed and Caerphilly.
Officers carried out patrols in Newport city centre to look out for children at risk of exploitation and spoke to adults at risk of being sexually exploited and recruited into county lines.
Detective Inspector Bartholomew said: “A large part of these intensification weeks is about educating young and vulnerable people on the dangers of county lines and the signs to look out for of exploitation.
“One form of control to exploit a vulnerable person involved in county lines is by using their home as a base for dealing drugs; a process known as cuckooing.
“Our officers gave safeguarding advice to three addresses in Monmouthshire and met staff at Newport City Homes to discuss the risk of their residents being cuckooed and exploited into county lines.”
He added: “We encourage members of the public to come forward with information to help those vulnerable people, including children, to be safeguarded.
“By disrupting supply lines and taking those involved out of circulation, we can make Gwent’s communities safer. But we can only do this with the support and information that we get from residents.”
If you have any concerns that someone you know is being exploited or have concerns about drug dealing in your area, you can contact the police on on 101 or 999 in an emergency. Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.