Four men, including two from North Tyneside, have been jailed for their part in a conspiracy to supply £2.7million of cocaine across the North East.
Dean Wear, of Albion Road, North Shields, Nicholas Casselden, of Manor Way, Peterlee, and Paul McGovern, of Liverton Avenue, Guisborough, were convicted by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court earlier this summer after a three-week trial.
Anthony Carr, of Redesdale Road, North Shields, pleaded guilty at an earlier court appearance, but the other three denied the charges.
All four 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, which 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.
The four men have now been sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court.
Casselden, 42, was jailed for 12 years and both Wear, 54 and McGovern, 46, were jailed for 10 years.
Carr, 39, was jailed for six years and eight months.
Following the sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Paul Colling said: “These sentences are the result of hard work and an extensive investigation by our specialist detectives.
“To see these men put behind bars for such a significant period of time is very satisfying and the streets are a safer place without them.
“They were a sophisticated and organised criminal organisation who thought they would get away with their crimes even during the trial.
“The result sends a strong warning to similar organised crime groups – we will identify you, prosecute you and dismantle your organisation.
“We will now seek to confiscate their assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act to prevent them from continuing their life of crime when they are eventually released from prison.
“Even if you manage to avoid detection for years, these convictions show that the law will catch up with you eventually.”
DCI Colling added: “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
“With these men behind bars, we have been able to prevent those drugs from flooding our region and means the North East is today a safer place to live.”
During the investigation, detectives made a number of other significant seizures including more than £5,000 cash, small quantities of cocaine, cannabis resin, scales with traces of cocaine, encrypted mobile telephones and drug debt lists.