A South Shields man today admitted his part in a £4million cannabis smuggling operation.
Daniel Thompson, 27, of Rubens Avenue, South Shields, appeared at Kingston Crown Court in London, accused of moving top-quality cannabis between London and Newcastle.
He was charged after police recovered more than 100 kilos of cannabis after raiding homes across the country.
Officers carried out a massive surveillance operation to bust the gang and went undercover in Spain with the co-operation of local police.
They believe the gang had a £4million turnover in the last two years.
Thompson and two other men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply controlled class B drugs between January 1, 2014, and February 1, 2016.
His co-accused were Neil Stuart, 40, of Blanmerle Road, Eltham, and Jack Vose, 62, of Parkhill Road, Bexley, both south-east London.
All will be sentenced on a date to be fixed.
Stuart, also known as Neil Acourt, was one of five men cleared in 1996 of the racist murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence at a bus stop at Eltham three years earlier.
Two of them were later convicted and jailed for life in 2011 when new forensic evidence came to light.