Seven men have been sentenced to nearly 40 years for drug offences after being uncovered by a specialist team of officers from across the region.
Richard French, 27, of Windmill Way, Gateshead, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and conspiracy to supply cocaine. He was sentenced to 9 years and 4 months.
Stuart Watson, 33, of Bensham Road, Gateshead, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine. He was sentenced to 2 years suspended for 2 years.
Dean Lynch, 33, of Finch Road, Liverpool, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, conspiracy to supply heroin and conspiracy to supply cannabis. He got 10 years and 8 months.
Andrew McGilley, 39, of Finch Lane, Liverpool, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine. He was sentenced to 4 years 2 months.
Carl Burke, 52, of Plain Tree Road, Liverpool, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, conspiracy to supply heroin and conspiracy to supply cannabis. He was sentenced to 6 years.
Niraj Patel, 30, of St Cuthberts Road, Gateshead, pleaded guilty to supplying cocaine and transferring criminal property. He was sentenced to 5 years and 3 months.
Ricky Lister-Pattinson, 29, of The Court Yard, Lamesley, Gateshead, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine. He was sentenced to 31 months.
Mandy French, 45, of Denmark Street, Gateshead was sentenced back in May when she admitted guilt in concealing criminal property. She was sentenced to 4 months suspended for 12 months.
They were all part of a conspiracy to supply Gateshead with around £8m-worth of the Class A drugs from Liverpool. But they were uncovered after police launched a six-month intelligence-led operation between March and October 2014.
Officers from the North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU) stopped the gang and seized drugs with a street value of around £8m and more than £100,000 in cash.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Colling from the North East Regional Specialist Operations Unit (NERSOU) said;
"This was a calculated network and the key players in the group directing those underneath them to transport money and or drugs on their behalf, between the north east and their Liverpool criminal associates.
"Those underneath them took the real risk, getting their hands dirty with ‘dirty cash’ or drugs. However, what is clear is that everyone who played a part in this gang will pay the price for their involvement.
"The total street value of drugs seized throughout this investigation is estimated to be £8 million. This clearly shows the level of criminality that the north east and the Liverpool group of offenders were operating at.
"There is a perception by some, that drug dealers live a glamorous life, living the high life with ‘cash rich lifestyles’. The truth is that drugs ruin lives and instigate other crimes within our communities, such as violence, anti-social behaviour and acquisitive crime, and this cannot be ignored.
"Our aim is together with our partner agencies and the communities, to disrupt and dismantle serious and organised crime, to remind those intent on dealing drugs that we will identify them and help eliminate the misery they inflict on our communities.’
"The message is clear; if you are intent on committing crime, you risk an early morning wakeup call from one of our teams and a future behind bars."
9 yrs 4 mnths
2 yrs suspended
10 yrs 8 mnths
4 yrs 2 mths
5 yrs 3 mnths
2 yrs 7 mths
4 mnths suspended