The Independent London Newspaper
10th December 2018

Hundreds of officers join 6am swoop on canal drugs gang suspects

    Hundreds of officers join 6am swoop on canal drugs gang suspects

    Police lead away a man in Camden Town 

    Published: 31 March, 2016

    HUNDREDS of officers clad in riot gear shattered the pre-dawn peace early yesterday (Wednesday) as the doors to 14 homes were kicked open in a crackdown on the sale of cannabis and cocaine on the canal towpath. 

    The dramatic raids follow a four-month undercover investigation triggered by a series of stabbings, which detectives believe were the result of disputes between dealers who control the lucrative trade of class A and B drugs along the Grand Union Canal. 

    Police said yesterday that all 10 of those arrested were linked to a Camden Town gang which they identify as the “TMS”  or “The Money Squad”. 

    Drug dealing on the towpath between Kentish Town Road and Camden High Street is a decades-old issue. Even before the suspects had been transported to holding cells yesterday, senior officers admitted that a fresh wave of dealers would be looking to move into the area. 

    Inspector Simon Brooker said: “The next stage for us is to patrol the area and stop another group moving into the gap, whether that be other members of this gang or another group.”

    Officers on horseback and boats from the Met’s Marine Unit are expected to be part of increased patrols in the area in coming days. 

    Yesterday’s raid is the latest in a long line of attempts to stem the open drug market in Camden Town, an issue that police receive regular tip-offs about. 

    Attempts by uniformed officers to curb the trade are thwarted by dealers’ tendency to stash drugs in hiding places along the canal. As a result Met bosses have been forced to commit more resources to tackle the problem. 

    In 2002, a high-profile sting, known as Operation Grandilla, led to 26 charges and the seizure of more than six kilos of cannabis, but within weeks residents were complaining of a return to business as usual. 

    In 2008, Operation Nardus led to 12 people being charged with the supply of cocaine and heroin. Eight of the 12 lived within a short walk of the towpath. 

    In the latest clampdown, codenamed Operation Lighthouse, undercover officers used video cameras to record suspected deals, before arresting the customer, seizing drugs and taking witness statements. 

    Insp Brooker said that yesterday’s “arrest phase” was the culmination of months of painstaking investigative work, add­ing: “The evidence for this job is there already. We are just nicking people today.”

    The New Journal was the only newspaper invited to a 5am briefing at Kentish Town police station yesterday, when officers explained the motivation for the investigation. 

    It is understood that a string of violent assaults, including at least two stabbings, at the end of last year were the result of “disagreements” be­tween members of TMS and rival gang members from Queen’s Crescent. 

    The 14 simultaneous raids were carried out by more than 200 officers and were co-ordinated from the Met central control room in Lambeth, overseen by Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Packer. 

    Simon Pitkeathley, chief executive of Camden Town Unlimited, who has previously raised the issue of a rising number of drug dealers targeting tourists and revellers, joined officers in an unmarked car outside a suspect’s home off St Pancras Way. 

    As a dozen officers from the Met Tactical Support Group stormed their way into the three-storey terraced home, Mr Pitkeathley said: “We’ve been concerned about the increasing levels of drug dealing in Camden Town for some time and have been in dialogue with police and hearing about the evidence gathering that’s been going on. It’s great to see it all coming to a head this morning. Camden feels like a safer place today.”

    Inside the house, the 24-year-old suspect sat in handcuffs alongside his mother and younger siblings as a team of six uniformed officers searched his home. 

    He was taken to Charing Cross Police Station, where he and the other nine suspects remain in custody. All 10 were expected to be charged late last night. 

    Borough commander Penny Banham said afterwards that the operation came in response to complaints from members of the public and was an example of the force’s “You said – we did” approach. 

    She added: “Drug dealing is a priority for Camden Police as well as tackling the complex issue of gang membership. 

    “While today has seen substantial enforcement activity regarding those suspected of drug dealing in Camden Town, we are committed to working with partners to encourage the engagement and diversion away from a life of crime for young people involved in or on the periphery of gangs.”


    To many snitches

    There to many snitches on here posting stuff they know nothing about just talking out of there backside. If your doing what your saying your going why u posting it online the truth of the matter is ppl who grind are only grinding for a lifestyle no stacks just clothes and the illusion of money when at home they couldn't keep the lights on for there family while they were Prada trainers whilst there family struggles to make ends meet get a job and fix up look sharp or hmp calling you ps allow posting stuff on here tms used to mean something nowadays it's becoming to many snitches can't trust your co de anymore peace am out


    Free my real warriors they gave me life and eye love them if this country doesn't provide equal opportunity for the melaninated man then are their family supposed to starve? Feds know nothing !!!

    The police have already lost the war on drugs

    Lets not forget that the majority of the problems caused by drugs are because of the very fact they are illegal. The war on drugs will never be won so it's time to take a new approach; decriminalisation/legalisation. It has worked well in other countries so why don't we try it? Anything will be better than the current mess caused by British drug laws.

    Drugs have always been available on the streets of Camden Town and pretty much anywhere in London. Things will never change. Ironically, police raids actually help to keep drugs prices high.

    To Many Secrets (TMS)

    As a member of TMS some may say I was a leaders and still am, for the last 8 year since receiving an ASBO order I have tried to change my life around, my friend and family convince me to get a regular job where I was earning about 8 to 9 hundred pounds a month... at first things was difficult cause I wasn't use to someone paying me to work for them.. When deep down inside I knew I could make 8 to 9 hundred a day PROFIT, I was always use to going out there and grafting for about 12 hours a day. some may say why would a person choose to wake up everyday knowing that it could be his last but that was not the problem or issues I was not hurting anyone I only provide a service where everyone was happy. As the years went by and I got older my loyalties stay with my brothers but everyone status changed I became the brains and head of operations some of the boys stayed in the same place (CamdenHighStreet)... Society portrays people who sell drug as the bad people but for the last 5 years the people who work for the government had been supplying me with kilos of drugs sometime when I couldn't get rid of it they would threaten myself and family I been selling drugs for nearly decade.. It has paid for my financial freedom and I will always be grateful, people going to prison and getting caught for selling drugs it's just part of the game we play... I pray and hope that I would not get caught up in the system but it is the system that's got us caught up... I have so many friends and family in prison but that will never stop the money flow. I feel like I said to much but I just had to let some things out... I hope all my day ones stay loyal the way I have been to them and never get caught in that rat trap


    You're a scumbag, plain and simple. Grafting 12 hours a day? You mean selling more than likely crap drugs to dumb tourists and drug addicts, attracting the best low life scum in Camden, maintaining the crime rate and causing a public nuisance. "I was not hurting anyone I only provide a service where everyone was happy" You are truly delusional if you believe this crap, or are you saying that to get sympathy? Who's actually happy here? The drug addicts? The public that have to go past you scumbags on a daily basis, while you openly sell drugs? Wake up! You're a massive part of the drugs problem, and quite frankly, I've got no sympathy for you whatsoever! Best place for you is in prison, and hopefully, for the benefit for everyone else, you stay there.

    TMS (To Many Secrets)

    You must be a police officer who actually done his job the right way and I praise you for that. I was grafting for 12 hours a day like a dog mate, selling drug is not the easy way out, to be honest it's one of the hardest thing to do cause of the pressure we face... And why would I need sympathy? Don't be silly, the service I provide give me financial freedom and I thank EVERYONE who made it happen, I was 21 year of age when I bought my first house so I guess in life u can turn a negative to a positive... The ones who are on the frontline are little fishes and are not the problem it's seems like you was feed by a golden spoon when you was growing up the way your going on.....Going to prison is not a problem we make more money in there and it's safer.. I got things and stuff off government workers for years so I guess we are all part of the problem but the funniest thing is that they would never get caught up the way others get caught up.. We play chess when it's come to these thing. So get with it or get lost cause I'll be waiting on the next generation to keep the money flow.. God bless me

    Adam Yusef

    From somebody who can see both sides of the spectrum, TMS you made valid points. From when you can turn a positive into a negative, that's always a plus. However on the other hand, Dealing can be a nuisance, but as for the other commentators, It's all apart of society. If you eradicate drugs, the war is going to be worse. Just look at when drug addicts don't get there fix, look what happens...

    Drug gangs

    The public can help by noting the registration numbers of vehicles used by the gangs and reporting them to the Police via the non-emergency 101 phone line.

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