POLICE carried out a series of early-morning raids yesterday, targeting alleged drug dealers in the Lothians.
Sixteen people were detained following 13 raids which also saw £200,000 in cash recovered from a house in Musselburgh, East Lothian, and £30,000 worth of heroin seized from a house in the West End of Edinburgh.
Heroin valued at around £1,000 was also found in another address in the city.
The number of people detained was expected to rise following a second round of raids carried out as part of Operation Amend yesterday afternoon.
Last night, police said all of those detained in the morning raids were of British origin.
More than 100 police officers in riot gear, accompanied by teams of drug dogs, took part in the Police Scotland initiative, mostly in the south and east of Edinburgh, targeting people suspected of involvement in drug dealing and serious and organised crime in the city.
The raids, which started at 6am, were carried out by officers from Edinburgh, who were joined by personnel from Glasgow, Fife and Central Scotland.
Detective Superintendent Gareth Blair, of Police Scotland, said the raids followed months of intelligence-gathering.
“We were focusing on those involved in serious organised crime – those at the higher end of drug dealing who are benefiting from it financially,” he said.
DS Blair said those targeted would be using money obtained from drug dealing for a range of purposes, ranging from purchasing luxury goods and properties to buying more drugs.
“We’ve had a real focus on serious organised crime groups,” he said. “The properties raided were a mix of privately owned and council properties.”
He added: “We will be relentless in our pursuit of drug dealers and serious and organised criminals whose activities cause so much harm, and we would encourage the public to play their part in this effort by providing us with information.”
Justice secretary Kenny Mac-Askill said the operation’s aim was to disrupt the activities of a small group of criminals.
“Drug dealing and serious organised crime are blights on our communities and the malicious actions of a small minority can have a devastating effect on the wider population.
“Today’s activity shows the police are taking a tough approach to crime and disrupting the criminal actions of a small minority – getting them off our streets and out of our neighbourhoods.
“The Scottish Government has committed over £4 million of funding over two years through the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce to allow Police Scotland and other enforcement agencies to tackle the scourge of those making money through criminal activity.”