County lines drug dealers admit operating in Suffolk

Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Two men have been convicted of drug dealing offences following their arrests as part of a major operation by Suffolk Constabulary and Met Police officers to target county lines.

Maverick Dwyer and Christopher Prosser appeared at Ipswich Crown Court on video link from Norwich prison on Friday.

Both admitted being part of a conspiracy to supply drugs into Suffolk between July 2019 and May 2020.

Their arrests on Thursday, May 28 were part of ongoing work to crack down on the supply of illegal drugs across county lines.

Since February 2020, Operation Orochi, led by the Metropolitan Police, has been in place in Suffolk with the aim of shutting down drug dealers at the source.

The operation focuses on analysing the data of mobile phones used to trade in crack cocaine and heroin.

Officers from the team in Suffolk share intelligence with a dedicated team at the Met, which then investigates to identify the line controller and their location.

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Police arrested and charged Dwyer and Prosser in connection with drug offences in the Haverhill area after two warrants were carried out at separate addresses in Ilford and Margate by Met officers on behalf of Suffolk’s Serious Crime and Disruption Team.

Both men were remanded in custody overnight and appeared before Suffolk Magistrates’ Court on May 29.

On Friday, both Dwyer, 26, of Alder Walk, Ilford, Essex, and Prosser, 32, of Louvain Road, Greenhithe, Kent, admitted conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine between July 2019 and May 2020, and possession of cannabis on the day of their arrests, when Prosser also admitted assaulting a police officer.

Detective Chief Superintendent Eamonn Bridger said Operation Orochi put police in a strong position to charge and remand drugs line controllers on the day of arrest, before they can pass the line to an associate – effectively shutting it down.

County lines networks use phone lines to set up deals from urban bases with customers in more rural areas. The National Crime Agency estimates there are up to 1,100 county lines numbers in use in the UK at any one time.

Under Operation Orochi, police have closed 87 county lines – including 20 into Norfolk, where 25 people have been charged and remanded, and eight sentenced, for drug supply offences.

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