CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Camden Lock drug dealers jailed

Gang's Unit run six months investigation into sale of cocaine in NW1

30 March, 2017 — By William McLennan

POLICE say several “high-level members of an organised crime network” who were orchestrating the sale of cocaine in Camden Town are now in prison.

The convictions are the result of a six-month operation run by the borough’s Gangs Unit, targeting the supply of class A drugs along the Grand Union Canal towpath. Seven men were arrested during raids in February and early March. Two men pleaded guilty to five charges of possession of a class A drug with intent to supply at Blackfriars Crown Court on March 10. They were sentenced to 28 months’ imprisonment on the same day.

Five others are awaiting trial. Chief Inspector Matthew Casey said the operation was built on a “covert and, at times, slow moving” investigation. He said traditional policing tactics, such as stop-and-search, had “limited impact” on gang bosses controlling street-level dealers. CI Casey said: “Recognising that on-street interventions and high-visibility policing has limited impact on the management structure of drugs gangs, a variety of tactics were employed in order to target those who control the lower-level street dealers.” Drug dealing around Camden Lock is a long-standing issue and police face regular complaints from members of the public.

CI Casey said: “I’d like to recognise and thank the businesses and communities who showed patience and understanding whilst the policing operation was developing – at times it must’ve appeared that very little was happening. This was certainly not the case.”

It was the latest phase of Operation Lighthouse, which began in March last year with a series of raids across London targeting 14 addresses, with 10 people arrested at the time. Police said that both operations were linked to the Camden Town gang known as “TMS”, or “The Money Squad”.

The gang was identified as being central to Camden Lock drug supply around a decade ago, but was thought to have disbanded and been replaced by less formal groupings in recent years.

CI Casey said the gang would “seemingly approach tourists in an attempt to sell cocaine at massively inflated prices”. Police will now attempt to prevent a new wave of dealers moving into the area, CI Casey said.

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