Essex drug raids: Dawn operation in Brentwood sees multiple arrests
Eighteen suspected drug dealers have been arrested in dawn raids targeting suppliers of cocaine.
Around 80 officers, along with specialist dog units, were involved in 20 raids across Brentwood, Essex.
Ch Insp Lewis Basford said the operation had gone "really well", with the first arrests at 05:00 BST.
He said residents and politicians had "raised concerns" about cocaine and the police wanted to create a "hostile environment" for dealers.
Mr Basford said some people saw cocaine as a "weekend drug", but it was "as harmful as any other drug".
"It may be that a child is trafficked into transporting those drug packages for a dealer, or it may be that someone with a drug habit is exploited into selling cocaine and is subjected to violence unless they comply," he said.
Mr Basford said as a result of the raids, clubs and pubs could "see the police support and help them with people who supply class A drugs".
But he issued a warning to premises which did not work with the authorities.
"We have taken action against premises before and won't be shied away from taking action again," he said.
Search warrants were also executed in Dagenham and Romford in east London as part of the same operation.
Those arrested included men and women aged between 18 and 57 who were from Brentwood, Doddinghurst, Grays, Ongar and Pilgrims Hatch.