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Officers from the force’s Project Medusa team have been working with partners in Devon and Cornwall Police, as part of a joint investigation into County Lines drug dealing.
The two-day operation was part of the ongoing Project Medusa, an operation led by Merseyside Police involving the County Lines taskforce and Matrix vehicle enforcement team and set up to tackle County Lines drug dealing and child criminal exploitation.
Officers from both forces were deployed across Plymouth and Torquay, as well as to transport hubs in the area, to disrupt criminal activity and safeguard young and vulnerable people exploited by criminal gangs.
Over the course of the two-day operation:
- 46 arrests for offences such as drugs possession, being concerned in the supply of drugs, money laundering and possession of an offensive weapon
- Nine people charged with offences such as drugs possession, possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit violence and dangerous driving and driving whilst unfit.
- Officers recovered numerous knives and two crossbows
- Quantities of cannabis, heroin and cocaine were recovered
- Officers seized 11 cars
Inspector Darren Wallace said: “Our work to disrupt County Lines gangs doesn’t stop at the Merseyside border – we will work with police forces and regional organised crime units up and down the country to stop criminals from Merseyside intent on ruthlessly exploiting vulnerable people for financial gain.
“It is in the interests of communities across Merseyside and in the area these gangs have set up County Lines to make sure they are stopped and brought to justice.
“Any offender who thinks that operating in other areas will help them evade justice is very much mistaken. We will continue to work alongside partner forces as we have done this week, to make arrests and make our streets safer.”
Read more here about how to spot the signs of exploitation linked to drug dealing and the Eyes Open campaign: www.eyes-open.co.uk
You can also report any concerns to police on 999 if a crime is in progress, via 101, or via Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook 'Merseyside Police Contact Centre'.
You can also pass information via the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information.