A man has been arrested in Peacehaven this morning (Wednesday) as part of major drugs operation by Sussex Police.
At 6am this morning (Wednesday), around 130 officers and specialist staff, led by detectives from the force’s Serious Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), arrested six men and two women at addresses across East Sussex.
They include a 36-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply cocaine at an address in Peacehaven.
Even before this morning's arrests, police say, the investigation had led to 39 other arrests across Sussex, the seizure of more than £2.3 million worth of drugs, a loaded Walther revolver and a ‘Tech 9’ machine pistol with ammunition and silencer, which is capable of firing more than 900 rounds a minute.
The police operation, which officers say followed a complex and lengthy investigation, coincides with the launch of a strategy aimed at enlisting public help in further clamping down on drug dealing across the force area.
Detective Inspector Till Sanderson said: "These arrests are significant. They are the culminating phase of this major operation, another example of the way in which, working with our law enforcement partners, we are constantly attacking organised crime and frustrating its efforts to become embedded in our communities.
"And today we are also announcing further action to heighten public awareness and support for this work.
"Police social media messaging on Facebook and Twitter will signpost to local drug and alcohol diversion schemes in Sussex, inviting the public to get involved in debate and discussion with us and other agencies on the impact of drugs misuse, and including on-line graphics showing the journey drug production takes before it ends up in the hands of the user.
"Special posters and leaflets will be distributed locally around the locations of future drugs arrests, explaining to local residents and businesses that positive police action has been taken. In addition local news media and social media will be informed of this and of cases where convicted criminals later have their profits stripped from them under proceeds of crime confiscation laws.
"Within the force, all officers and staff are receiving special briefings to enable them to support the advice and information being given to the public.
"The devastating effect of drug misuse can have a much wider impact than simply on the person who takes them. It can corrode the quality of life for local communities and effect the health of those who drawn into it.
"If you have any information or suspicions about drug dealing where you live or work, please let us know by reporting online."
As part of the operation a man, aged 23, and a woman, aged 20, were arrested at an address in Hastings. The man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine, money laundering and conspiracy to murder while the woman was arrested on suspicion of money laundering.
Another man, aged 39, was arrested at a seperate address in Hastings, on suspicion of conspiracy to supply cocaine and money laundering.
Other arrests include a 24-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply a firearm and of suspicion of possession of cannabis and a Class A drug. He was arrested at an address in St Leonards.
A man, aged 39, and a woman, aged 37, were also arrested in St Leonards. The man was arrested on suspicion of money laundering and conspiracy to supply drugs and the woman was arrested on suspicion of money laundering, and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Another man, aged 39, was arrested at an address in Bexhill, on suspicion of conspiracy to supply heroin.
Elsewhere a 41-year-old man was arrested at an address in Rotherhithe in South London, on suspicion of conspiracy to supply cocaine, MDMA, amphetamine and methoxamine, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. A final man, aged 36, was arrested at an address in Chislehurst, South East London, on suspicion of conspiracy to murder.
The two South London arrests and subsequent searches were carried out by specialist teams from the National Crime Agency (NCA) on behalf of Sussex Police.
Computers, phones and documents were seized for examination, and more than £10,000 cash was found in a safe which police had to force open at the address where the 24-year old man was arrested in St Leonards.
All those arrested are currently in custody for interview and further enquiries.
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