Drug dealers are making more than £4,000 per day from the sale of drugs in each of the major towns in North Essex, according to police.
Essex Police has now launched an operation to bring down the dealers and gangs, who they believe travel into the area from outside the county.
Detectives in a dedicated team will work closely with uniformed officers and partner agencies in major towns and cities across the Braintree, Uttlesford, Colchester, Tendring, Chelmsford and Maldon districts.
Already, a raid in Clacton has seen more than 300 wraps of suspected class A drugs seized.
Chief Superintendent Carl O’Malley, who has set up the team, said: "The aim of the operation is not only to disrupt the supply of illegal drugs to North Essex but also to tackle the associated violence that these gangs can bring.
"Essex is generally a very safe place, especially for law-abiding members of the public, but we do know that violence between rivals involved in drug dealing is happening.
"Their numbers are not large but no-one in Essex should have to put up with this type of behaviour in their neighbourhoods and I want to tackle the problem head on.
"I am not willing to tolerate the culture and behaviour of these people.”
Anyone with information about drug dealing or the gangs involved in North Essex can contact the team at Braintree Police Station on 101 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.