Operation Eclipse has now seen a total of 26 arrests and seven people interviewed under caution as officers continue to interview suspects and carry out further enquiries.
Connor Johnson, 22, from Wrenbury Street in Liverpool, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on Monday (March 2) and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. He was remanded into custody to appear for sentencing at a later date.
On Monday officers also charged a 25-year-old man from Liverpool with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
The court appearances follow months of intelligence gathering and police activity across the country, including operations in Scotland, Northumberland and Merseyside where a number of arrests were made and over £40,000 worth of cocaine was seized from an address.
Detectives also shut down a communication line used to orchestrate the criminal activity linked to County Lines which was being used at every point of the drug operation.
Northumbria Police’s Detective Chief Inspector Jonathan Bensley, has praised the dedication of the officers and staff working to bring an end to County Lines criminal activity in our force area.
He said: “I can’t speak highly enough of the officers and staff who have demonstrated such commitment to this operation.
“We have been working alongside partner forces and agencies and time and time again everyone involved has displayed dedication to locating suspects and supporting victims.”
Regional County Lines Co-ordinator, Detective Inspector Kirsten Dent, said: “We are committed to working alongside partners to keep communities safe.
“This work will continue and I hope it sends a stern message to anyone else who thinks our communities are easy targets – they’re not and we will keep pursuing suspects, keep seizing drugs and keep protecting the vulnerable.”
County Lines is where criminal networks expand their operations from urban areas to more rural locations and smaller towns.
Drug dealers will typically use a single phone line to facilitate the supply of Class A drugs, often resorting to violence and intimidation to protect the line.
County Lines often involves the exploitation of vulnerable people, including children and those with mental health or addiction problems, at all points of the drug supply routes.
If you have suspicions or concerns around County Lines then you can report information to local police on 101 or via the British Transport Police if on the transport network.