Seven were arrested following dawn raids this morning in south London and Kent by officers targeting county lines dealers.
Detectives believe the suspects have exploited young people who courier drugs out of London. All are classed as ‘high harm’ offenders – with links to violence.
They have been arrested on suspicion of drug supply, possession of criminal property and modern slavery.
£20,000 in cash was also seized along with Class A and Class B substances, and a knife in one property in South Norwood.
Detective Constable Ray Sekalongo said: “There is undoubtedly a link between drugs and violence and this investigation proves that.
“Those arrested this morning as part of our drive to apprehend high harm offenders are gang members or have links to gangs, they are incredibly dangerous and cause destruction in our communities.
“We will continue to work closely with colleagues from other forces, partner agencies and the community to dismantle drug dealing networks. Tackling violence is our top priority.
“This enhanced activity to target wanted individuals linked to violence was born out of the pandemic and continues as part of the annual Autumn Nights campaign.
“Working together, we are acting on information provided to us by the public and partner agencies to target those involved in this illegal activity that has a hugely detrimental effect on the quality of life for the law-abiding community.
“I urge anyone, if something doesn’t feel right – it may not be. If you have information about any criminality in your area to contact police, or Crimestoppers, so that we can take proactive action – your information is invaluable to us and could help a child or vulnerable person.”
Those arrested include two men from Lambeth, one from South Norwood, two from Croydon, and two from Chatham in Kent. They remain in custody.