More than 60 officers executed warrants at 4am this morning (Tuesday, June 9), with a 46-year-old Worthing man and 52-year-old man from Littlehampton were arrested.
The investigation, code-named Operation Ottawa, relates to the recovery of tens of thousands of pounds in cash, as well as large amounts of jewellery, watches, cigarettes, perfume and red diesel.
The 15 people arrested are being held at police stations across the south east, on suspicion of theft.
The operation is being run with the support of Gate Gourmet, which alerted Sussex Police to the issue after discovering irregularities with its stock control systems.
Detective Inspector Rob McPhilemy said: “The execution of the warrants today is the result of a long-running investigation into the theft of large amounts of duty free goods at Gatwick Airport before they could be sold.
“Intelligence that our officers have collected over several months has led to the arrests and seizures of items worth tens of thousands of pounds this morning.
“I would also like to thank Gate Gourmet staff for their co-operation during the planning and execution of this operation.”