Two Durham Regional Police officers are facing a combined 23 charges in connection with an alleged drug trafficking operation based out of an Ajax bar and grill.

Sometime in the summer of 2016, investigators say they became aware of “excessive alcohol serving and illegal drug transactions” being made at the Black Bear Bar and Grill on Westney Road South in Ajax.

Police allege that the establishment had ties to the sale of marijuana and cocaine.

An investigation by the Durham Regional Police Service later determined that two of their officers from the West Division were associated with the owner of the establishment in question.

Durham Regional Police Chief Paul Martin wrote in a news release Tuesday that the force is dedicated to “openness and transparency.”

“Obviously it’s very concerning and disappointing when we find ourselves investigating our own employees. When we became aware of the possible involvement of our DRPS members, we conducted a vigorous investigation,” he said. “No one is above the law and every one of our employees is accountable for their actions.”

On Tuesday, in collaboration with the Toronto Police Service, five people were taken into custody in connection with the investigation.

Speaking with CTV News Toronto, a Toronto police officer said the cops’ involvement was “absolutely disappointing.”

“I think it undermines the great work that our members do each and every day in the community,” Deputy Chief Uday Jaswal said.

A suspect identified as 32-year-old Const. Husen Aswat has been charged with seven counts of breach of trust, four counts of trafficking cocaine, three counts of weapons dangerous, one count of theft under $5,000, one count of possession of property obtained by crime and three counts of proceeds obtained by crime.

A second suspect, identified as 30-year-old Const. Amandeep Thakur, has been charged with one count of theft under $5,000, two counts of breach of trust and one count of possession of property obtained by crime.

Aswat has been a member of the force for nine years while Thakur has been serving for eight.

Three other suspects, identified as 44-year-old Pickering resident Rajalingam Varatharajan, 34-year-old Toronto resident Kevin Chung and 40-year-old Ajax resident Shaun Carter, have all been charged with multiple drug and drug trafficking related offenses.

Anyone with new information about the investigation is being asked to call police or Crime Stoppers.