50 drug dealers in north Essex jailed in police crackdown in 2021

Essex Police's crackdown on drugs gangs has been more than 200 years in jail sentences handed out

Essex Police's crackdown on drugs gangs has seen more than 200 years in jail sentences handed out - Credit: Essex Police/Archant

Fifty convicted drug dealers in north Essex will serve more than 200 years of jail time between them following a police crackdown on county lines gangs in 2021.

Essex Police's Op Raptor North team has been targeting drug activity in Braintree, Chelmsford, Colchester, Clacton, Harwich, Maldon and Witham throughout the year.

The committed team has secured a total of 212.5 years in prison sentences for convicted criminals — an average of more than four years each.

The total topped the 200-year mark last week when Rueben Jacobs and Corey Lewis were sentenced.

Jacobs, who sent out text messages declaring he was "about all night" to his customers, was arrested after officers entered a property in Wivenhoe in May last year.

The Op Raptor North team has been targeting towns such as Colchester, Clacton and Braintree

The Op Raptor North team has been targeting towns such as Colchester, Clacton and Braintree - Credit: Essex Police

The 32-year-old was found lying on a mattress on the floor of the living room, surrounded by phones, cash and notes related to drug dealing.

Lewis was caught after being arrested in Nelson Road, Stanway, whilst driving an Audi A4.

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When stopped, he was found to have two bags of cannabis and more than £3,000 with him.

Detective Sergeant James Pamment, who leads the Op Raptor North team, said: "These are just some of the many examples of tireless work my team has completed this year. 

"Their work is a 24-hours-a-day operation but they do it to tackle high harm crime in our communities. 

"Essex Police has been very consistent in saying drugs and drug dealers are not welcome in our towns and cities. However, some people think they are above the law and continue to attempt to exploit people and sell their product.

Fifty convicted drug dealers have been jailed in north Essex this year

Fifty convicted drug dealers have been jailed in north Essex this year - Credit: Essex Police

"To these people, you won’t even know we’re coming. You will be oblivious to my team building overwhelming cases against you before you’re even in a police car on the way to custody.

"And at that stage, your only realistic option will be to admit the charges levelled against you.”

DS Pamment continued: "Of course, the nature of our investigations mean we will often come across people who need our help rather than being pursued criminally.

"Indeed, we take our safeguarding role very seriously and to anyone who is being exploited, or if you know someone who is being exploited, you can talk to us. We will help and we will stop the behaviour against you."