Men charged after Rastafarian temple raid


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Three men have been charged with a variety of drug and weapons offences after police raided a former Rastafarian temple in south London yesterday.

St Agnes Place in Kennington was raided in the early hours of Thursday morning due to suspicions that "serious criminality" was taking place at the site, the Metropolitan police said after making 23 arrests.

And tonight it emerged that Fitzroy Pommel, 48, has been charged with conspiracy to supply class C drugs and possession of ammunition.

Two other men, 40-year-old Jahlaw Salassie and 45-year-old Roderick Green, have both been charged with conspiracy to supply class C drugs.

All three will appear before Camberwell Green magistrates court on Saturday morning.

As part of the Met's continuing operations, 11 of the people arrested have been bailed to return pending further enquiries, while three have been cautioned for cannabis possession and bailed.

Three other men remain in custody pending "immigration matters".

Prior to yesterday's raid, search warrants were issued for the operation under drugs and firearms legislation, with both the Met and Lambeth council involved in the intelligence-led raid, which took place at about 03:10 BST.

Scotland Yard said that several kilos of cannabis, a quantity of crack cocaine and six rounds of ammunition were discovered at the site after two of 32 rooms were searched.

"We do not know if this is Britain's biggest drugs raid, but it is a significant operation," a Met spokesperson said.

In a statement, Scotland Yard added: "These premises have been used in part as a Rastafarian temple.

"However, it is believed that a high level of serious criminality has been operating from here which is adversely affecting the local communities."

Chief Superintendent Martin Bridger revealed that up to 200 people have been arrested on leaving the building over the past eight weeks, with 80 per cent of those detained found to be in possession of drugs.

He added that the temple's mangers had also contacted police indicating that the site had been "taken over" by drug dealers.

"This clearly demonstrates that the premises have not been used over the last few months as a Rastafarian temple but instead have been used as premises to supply both class A and C drugs," said Mr Bridger.

Council leaders are currently involved in legal action to have the building demolished.

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