Officers have arrested nine people after they seized £870,000 worth of cannabis at an industrial sized farm in Gateshead.
On Sunday 28 August at around 7.15pm, police were alerted to suspicious activity in Dunston.
It led to the arrest of four men and one woman, who were suspected of dealing drugs.
The group were all taken into custody along with two other men thought to be buying illegal substances.
Officers received more information which led them to a large-scale cannabis farm on St Omer's Road, Dunston, as part of an investigation launched as part of Operation Sentinel, the Force’s dedicated activity aimed at disrupting organised crime.
Almost 2000 plants, all at various stages of growth, were recovered in the building along with a sophisticated hydroponics set up, and officers noted the electrics had been bypassed.
Another address on Lincoln Street, Sunderland was also searched with officers recovering 17 kilos of cannabis.
Two other men were also arrested during the investigation.
Superintendent Jamie Pitt said: “We are committed to tackling illegal drug supply in our region and these results speak for themselves.
“This type of activity is not just a one-off but is a clear example of work which is going on around the clock to ensure harmful, illegal drugs are taken out of the supply chain and destroyed, so criminal groups are no longer able to turn a profit from selling to the vulnerable.
Of the nine arrested, six have since been released under investigation and three men charged as follows:
Edison Sulanjaku, 25, of North Station Avenue, Houghton-le-Spring charged with production and possession with intent to supply cannabis.
Besnik Cela, 47, of no fixed abode was charged with production of cannabis.
Xhenifer Muca, 21, of no fixed abode was charged with possession with intent to supply cannabis.
They all appeared at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court today (30 August) and have been remanded in custody.
They are next due to appear at Newcastle Crown Court on 27 September.