Three drug dealers have been jailed for almost 30 years for their part in an international heroin-smuggling ring.
Matthew Edward, 48, Peter Gordon, 31, and Richard Harrison, 57, pleaded guilty to being involved in supplying heroin with an estimated street value of £7.84 million, the Crown Office said.
Italian police found 75lb of diamorphine – heroin – concealed in a consignment of breadsticks when they stopped a Scottish lorry travelling from Greece at the port of Bari last November.
The offences happened in locations across Scotland, England, Italy, Greece, Spain and the Netherlands between 2 October and 27 November last year.
At the High Court in Glasgow yesterday, Edward was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment, Gordon to seven years six months, and Harrison to nine years behind bars.
They were also handed travel restriction orders (TROs) which bar them from leaving the UK for a certain period after release.
Edward and Gordon, from Glasgow, were given TROs of ten and five years respectively, while Harrison, from Liverpool, was
issued with an eight-year TRO.
Detective Chief Inspector Colin Boyle, of Police Scotland, said: “This was a complex and detailed investigation with a number of officers dedicated to this long-running inquiry.
“The people involved showed absolutely no regard for the harm that these drugs could inflict on Scotland’s communities.
“This sentencing today sends out a clear message to those intent on causing misery by supplying and selling drugs, that this will not be tolerated by Police Scotland. No-one is untouchable.
“No matter where you are running your business from, if you intend to supply drugs on to the streets of Scotland, we will use every means at our disposal and work with our partner agencies throughout the world to track you down and bring you to justice.”
The Crown Office said the trio were caught following a Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency surveillance operation against Edward. It found that he, Gordon and Harrison were arranging to import a large amount of controlled drugs from Europe into the UK.
On 24 November last year, a Scottish lorry travelling from Greece was intercepted in Bari, where Italian officers found the drugs hidden among breadsticks. The two men on board, Samuel Wilson and Peter Cameron, are in custody in Italy, having pleaded guilty and received sentences of eight years and six years respectively.
Edward and Gordon were then arrested on 27 November and Harrison on 28 November.
Lindsey Miller, head of the serious organised crime division for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, said: “This case clearly demonstrates the tenacity and effectiveness of the Scottish prosecution service and law enforcement agencies, in working on an international scale to bring to justice those involved in organised crime.”