OFFICERS targeting organised crime groups in Essex have made 83 arrests and recovered drugs with a street value of £5,709,820 in just three months.

That’s an average of £439,216 of drugs taken off the streets of Essex every week.

In total, more than 43kg of cocaine, 1kg of heroin and 13kg of cannabis, together with 2,426 cannabis plants, were seized across the county by officers from community and local policing teams.

They have been working closely with specialists from other teams, including the Operational Support Group, Dog Section and Serious and Organised Crime Unit.

Essex Police officers have also seized more than £1million of cash suspected to be the proceeds of drug deals or of having been stolen.

Between January and March this year, 83 people were arrested and charges secured against 41, mostly conspiracy to supply and possession with intent to supply class A drugs.

Officers also recovered 18 handguns and 150 rounds of ammunition.

During the same period, 24 people were convicted for various drugs-related offences and were jailed for a total of 126 years – sentences averaged five years and three months.

Thurrock Gazette: Drug wraps and cash seized Drug wraps and cash seized

In February, a man arrested by the team in Wickford last July was jailed at Basildon Crown Court for eight years for possession with intent to supply class A drugs, possession of criminal property, possession of a prohibited weapon and possession of cannabis.

He had also admitted an offence under the Offensive Weapons Act - possession of a prohibited weapon in a private place – which had come into law just a day before he was charged.

During a search of the man’s home and car, detectives recovered three 1kg bricks of cocaine and another kilo of loose cocaine in a number of containers – with a street value of approximately £400,000 - a substantial amount of cannabis, about £220,000 in cash, a number of weapons and several mobile phones.

Detective Superintendent Lee Morton, of the Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: “We take a robust approach to criminals who are intent on supplying drugs to vulnerable people and causing harm to our communities, as a lot of people have found out in the past three months.

“Officers have seized a significant amount of drugs in a short space of time, including cocaine, heroin and cannabis destined for the streets of Essex which were prevented from reaching them.

“I’m also delighted that we recovered more than £1million in cash, which will have put a huge dent in the profits of those seeking to exploit and harm vulnerable people and, through the asset realisation scheme, can be used to fund future investments to help make our communities safer.

Thurrock Gazette: Counting cash seized Counting cash seized

“Together with the large number of weapons and ammunition seized, this all means our county and the wider Eastern Region are safer as a result of our work.

“But we can’t do these warrants without your help so please tell us if you think someone is involved in drugs in any way. You can report information to us via our website at www.essex.police.uk or anonymously, to Crimestoppers.”