Dealers who flooded Teesside with heroin, cocaine and cannabis jailed for 24 years

Drug dealers Kevin Stevenson, left and James Joyce
Drug dealers Kevin Stevenson, left and James Joyce -Credit:Cleveland Police

A pair of dealers involved in a complex drug conspiracy flooded Teesside with heroin, cocaine and cannabis.

Kevin Stevenson and James Joyce are now facing the consequences of their criminal actions after a complex operation led by the North East Regional Organised Crime Unit (NEROCU). As part of a wider investigation, supported by Cleveland Police, officers gathered intelligence which suggested the duo were involved in an illicit drug operation involving Class A and B drugs.

In April 2019, police arrested Stevenson, 44, at an address in Hemlington after being found in possession of cocaine. A search of the address recovered further amounts of cocaine and also recovered three kilos of cannabis bush. A further kilo of cannabis bush was also found at another address in Middlesbrough that was also linked to Stevenson.

Joyce, 46, was arrested in November 2020 after telephone analysis showed he was also linked to the complex drugs conspiracy. The pair were subsequently charged with conspiracy to supply heroin, cocaine and cannabis.

A trial was set at Teesside Crown Court on May 9, with Joyce pleading not guilty to all charges and Stevenson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis but not guilty to the heroin charge. On Tuesday, they appeared at the same court and were found guilty of all charges and received their sentence.

Stevenson, of Grange Farm, Coulby Newham, was sentenced to ten years and seven months behind bars while his criminal associate Joyce, of Jocelyn Way, Middlesbrough, was handed thirteen years and six months imprisonment. Two further men, 25 and 50, were charged alongside the duo but were found not guilty on all three charges.

'Dangerous drug conspirators'

Praising the continued efforts of his team, Detective Constable McKinlay, said: “This is a great result for us, with two dangerous drug conspirators behind bars. I would like to thank everyone who played their part in this police operation.

“These drugs are incredibly addictive and cause undeniable harm to our communities, with the trade of the drug directly funding Serious and Organised Crime and associated violence and exploitation. As a region, we have zero tolerance for drug-related crime and we will continue to work with partners under Operation Sentinel to bring offenders to justice.”

Anyone who sees anything suspicious in their community is asked to contact their local police force via their website or by calling 101. In an emergency, or if a crime is taking place, always ring 999.