Four men, including two from North Tyneside, have been convicted of conspiracy to supply £2.7million of cocaine across the North East after a covert operation by detectives.
Anthony Carr, of Redesdale Road, North Shields, Dean Wear, of Albion Road, North Shields, Nicholas Casselden, of Manor Way, Peterlee, and Paul McGovern, of Liverton Avenue, Guisborough, were arrested in 2017 following a year-long investigation by detectives at the North East Regional Special Operations Unit.
The investigative team had spent months using covert surveillance, during which they witnessed drug deals taking place.
A number of searches were carried out following the arrests that saw officers seize 4kg of high purity cocaine.
It was later estimated that the street value of the drugs could have been worth as much as £2,752,000.
Carr, 39, pleaded guilty at an earlier court appearance.
Casselden, 42, McGovern, 46, and Wear, 54, had denied the charges but last Wednesday, May 30, they were convicted by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court following a three-week trial.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Colling said: “Cocaine is an incredibly addictive drug, which causes untold physical harm to those who abuse it.
“Not only does it ruin the lives of those who use it, but it also has a devastating social impact on our communities.
“We are delighted with the outcome of this trial. The conviction of these men today should send a very clear message to organised crime groups in the North East.
“We will pursue you and use every tactic at our disposal to disrupt your criminal activities.
“We will prosecute you and dismantle your criminal organisations in order to make our communities safer.
“These men made a huge amount of money through this criminality and that will now be assessed with the view of confiscating their assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act. This will prevent them from continuing their life of crime.
“We will continue to put serious offenders before the courts and remain committed to protecting our local communities from organised crime.”
Other significant seizures include more than £5,000 cash, small quantities of cocaine, cannabis resin, scales with traces of cocaine, encrypted mobile telephones and drug debt lists.
The four men will all be sentenced at Teesside Crown Court on July 6.