NEARLY 150 charges have been brought against alleged drug dealers across south Essex in one of Essex Police’s most successful drugs busts.

So far, 22 people have been charged with 144 offences relating to dealing class A drugs in the area under Operation Erasure.

One person has been charged with 21 offences, another with 19 offences, and a third with 16 offences.

Police from across the county were drafted in to carry out simultaneous raids on groups known to be working together last Tuesday and Wednesday.

In total, 33 raids were carried out in Southend, Westcliff, Laindon, Corringham and London in the two-day sting, which uncovered cocaine, heroin, £10,000 in cash and drugs paraphernalia. Fifteen warrants were executed in Southend, nine in Westcliff, one in Corringham, one in Laindon and seven in London.

Cops seized a stolen car from one of the properties, £10,000 cash, and a significant amount of class A drugs, though the total amount has not yet been disclosed.

Of those charged, 16 people have been remanded in custody and a further six have been released on bail until their court appearances, due throughout July, August, September and October.

Meanwhile, 24 people have been released on police bail pending further inquiries.

Two people received cautions for possessing small amounts of cannabis while two people were released with no further action.