THIRTEEN people – including eight from Hartlepool – accused of being part of a drugs ring have appeared in court for the first time.
The defendants are all alleged to be linked to a drug dealing network including Hartlepool, Sunderland and Liverpool.
Seven Hartlepool men are charged with conspiring with other suspects to supply a quantity of cocaine between January 1 and March 20 last year.
Alan James Forcer, 34, from Hartlepool, is charged with conspiring to supply the class A drug along with Steven Charles Adair, 56, of Gloucester Road, Huyton, Liverpool; Peter Murphy, 60, of Hurst Park Drive, Merseyside and Lee Michael Ryan, 30, also from Hartlepool and on remand at Holme House Prison.
The offence is said to have been committed between January 14 and 30 last year.
Also charged in connection with the operation are David Stuart Gallagher, 54, of Wharton Terrace, Hartlepool; David Haggan, 42, and Lee Haggan, 37, both of Cranwell Road, Hartlepool; Michael Jackson, 61, of Kilmarnock Road, Hartlepool; and Neil Michael Jackson, 41, of Dowson Road, Hartlepool.
They all face the same charge of conspiracy to supply cocaine.
Other defendants arrested as part of the same investigation are Robert Stevens, 56, of Hylton Road, Sunderland; Kirk Maddison, 30, of Gill Terrace, Sunderland, and Paul Lawton, 51, of Dellfield Drive, Sunderland.
They are accused of conspiracy to supply cocaine with others between Liverpool, Sunderland and Hartlepool, between January 1 and March 20 last year.
Stevens also faces another charge of possessing cannabis with intent to supply on May 7 this year.
Michael Jackson, is also jointly charged with Gillian Jackson, 52, of Thornville Road, Hartlepool, with possession of cannabis resin on November 20 last year.
Justices at Teesside Magistrates’ Court were told the alleged offences could only be dealt with at Teesside Crown Court where they will appear on August 11.
Forcer and Ryan were remanded in custody wile everyone else was granted conditional bail.