An intense county line drugs operation has seen drugs worth over £3.15m being seized from across south Wales.

A total of 63 people have been arrested as a result of what has been labelled the Tarian investigation, which was carried out by the Regional Organised Crime Unit for southern Wales.

The focus of their investigation was the way in which the county lines network is operating throughout Dyfed-Powys, South Wales and Gwent. This involves organised criminal groups moving and supplying drugs, usually from large towns and cities including Llanelli and Swansea, into smaller towns and rural areas throughout Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire.

A total of eights county lines were dismantled as a result of the investigation while officers from the three south Wales police authorities – Dyfed-Powys, South Wales and Gwent - executed a total of 17 warrants and 63 arrests.

“The purpose is to heavily disrupt organised crime gangs, whose selfish intentions cause untold harm to those they exploit,” said Detective Inspector Richard Weber, from Tarian.

“The positive results are due to the collaborative effort by dedicated police officers and staff and their efforts have shown that we will continue to pursue county lines criminals, whilst working to protect our communities.”

The drugs seized during the operation included:

Cocaine with an estimated street value of up to £16,000;

Crack cocaine with an estimated street value of up to £2,000;

Heroin with an estimated street value of up to £1,000;

18kg of amphetamine and

4,580 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of up to £3.1m.

A variety of weapons were recovered including knives, hammers, lighter fluid and two shotguns while vulnerable children and adults caught up in the county lines network were identified and safeguarded.

Multiple cars and mobile phones were seized for further examination.

The investigation involved over 400 community members including partners from the health sector, education, housing, hospitality, transport and the third sector.

Police officers made use of a range of resources including automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), knife sweeps, search warrants, covert officers and police dogs while members of the public played a pivotal part by reporting their concerns around suspected county lines exploitation.

“Much of what we work to tackle can be described as hidden harm, and we need the public and our partners to continue raising their concerns so we can act proportionately and appropriately to target the perpetrators and safeguard those in need,” added Detective Inspector Richard Weber..”