- Tyne Tees
Eight men have been sentenced to almost 40 years in jail as part of a huge drugs operation on Tyneside.
Operation Vegas, launched in March of last year by Northumbria Police, focused around the behaviour of Robert Eric Blackburn.
Intelligence on Blackburn led officers to believe that he was heavily involved in the large scale dealing of illegal drugs across the force area and further afield.
In August of last year, the intelligence gathered meant that he could be arrested and charged with conspiracy to supply drugs.
During the operation Blackburn was seen to work alongside a number of other individuals in his dealings.
Nine other men were arrested along with Blackburn for being involved in drug dealing.
"We welcome the sentences handed out to these men - it means a number of dangerous individuals involved in the dealing and distribution of large amounts of drugs are off the street for a considerable amount of time.
Vegas was a meticulously planned and executed operation that involved skilled officers carrying out detailed investigation of a number of targets.
While focusing on Blackburn we were able to uncover a web of contacts that he was working with to sell and distribute drugs.
We were able to make a number of arrests and seize drugs, as well as money made through drug dealing. "
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