County Lines drugs gang broken up in major police operation

Seven people have been arrested following a series of nine search warrants executed at addresses across Flintshire and Merseyside this morning (February 4) targeting a County Lines drug ring operating in north east Wales.

The early morning raids in Bagillt, in Flintshire and the Kirby and Sefton areas of Merseyside were the final police “strike” stage in Operation Blue Elixir, a five month investigation led by Flintshire North’s Neighbourhood Policing team.

The investigation has been targeting a Merseyside-based organised crime group which has been transporting crack cocaine and heroin into Flintshire to store and sell it through a network of local vulnerable people who they exploit to take the risk for them.

County Lines is a term used to describe gangs that supply drugs from large urban areas to smaller towns across the country using dedicated mobile phone lines or “deal lines”.

They exploit children and vulnerable adults to move the drugs and money to and from the urban area and to store the drugs locally.

Sgt Steve Lloyd of the Flintshire North NPT said; “Operation Blue Elixir has already resulted in the seizure of thousands of pounds worth Class A drugs and the arrest of four men and recovery of a stolen vehicle in October 2019. 

 “Today North Wales Police officers, supported by our colleagues in Merseyside and the Regional Organised Crime Unit, executed nine search warrants resulting in seven more arrests, three men in Flintshire and three men and a woman in Merseyside .

 “We also recovered a quantity of cash, phones and substances believed to be Class A drugs.

"The suspects, who were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, namely heroin and crack cocaine, are in custody in Llay and will be interviewed throughout the day.

 “I would like to thank the community for their information and cooperation throughout this operation.”

Sgt Gavin Gilmore added; “North Wales Police will continue to pursue anyone concerned in the supply or sale of illegal drugs.  Through concerted operations such as Blue Elixir we will disrupt and break up County Lines gangs which cause so much harm in our communities, and help make Flintshire a safer place.

 “We are also committed to working with agencies which provide help and support for whose lives are being affected through drug use.”