Former Hibs footballer faces ‘considerable’ prison sentence for 17 kilo heroin seizure
A ONE-TIME footballer has been told he faces “a very considerable” jail term after being convicted with two other men of being involved with the largest seizure of heroin in the Edinburgh area.
Police recovered more than 17 kilos the class A drug, worth £1.7 million and enough to make 170,000 street deals, in a raid on a house in the Sighthill area of the city just before Christmas 2010.
Kris Brown, 29, who had been a youth player with Hibs, was caught along with Lee Knott, 23, and Iain Hunter, 22, in the “chopping shop” where high purity heroin was prepared for onward supply.
Detectives told the High Court in Edinburgh that it had been an organised, professional operation.
Brown, an electrician, of Slateford Road, Edinburgh, had denied involvement but was found guilty by the unanimous verdict of a jury.
The judge, Lord Boyd, told him: “You have been convicted of the very serious charge of being concerned in the supplying of heroin. We have heard that this was the largest find of diamorphine in Lothian and the Borders, and it constituted 170,000 deals at street level...you are facing a very considerable period of imprisonment.”
Earlier in the trial, Knott, of Calder Gardens, Edinburgh, and Hunter, of Sighthill Green, Edinburgh, had admitted the charge, and sentence on all three men was deferred until next month for background reports. They were remanded in custody.
The court heard that police used a battering ram to force their way into a rented upper villa flat in Sighthill View just after midnight on 16 December, 2010. They found the three accused and powder “all over the place”. A search of a kitchen cupboard revealed dozens of bags of heroin, and Knott had remarked: “If you think that’s a lot, wait until you see the next one.” Another cupboard yielded even larger quantities of the drug, next to packets of biscuits.
Jurors were shown video footage of the flat, and saw a hydraulic, hand-operated press in a bedroom. It had been used to compress heroin into “bricks”. The film also showed a large cardboard drum, with Oriental writing and containing paracetamol, in the loft.
Detective Sergeant Charles Selcraig, 56, told the court that paracetamol shipped to the United Kingdom in bulk from China was often used as a cutting agent for heroin.
He said that the heroin recovered from the house was the largest amount in his 32 years’ service with Lothian and Borders Police.
“I have absolutely no doubt what we are seeing here is a chopping shop operation. Drugs of a higher purity are being adulterated into a lower purity for onward supply to other dealers. It is a wholesale operation. This is organised. This is not haphazard. There is a degree of professionalism here,” added DS Selcraig.
Police also found a “ticklist” marked with C for cocaine, and PF for plant food, a street name for the class B drug, mephedrone.
Brown’s mobile phone had been used to send a text message which mentioned “a huge amount coming on Wednesday”. Brown maintained that Knott, who had worked as his apprentice in lift engineering work, used the phone, and that he knew Knott had sold cocaine and “plant food”. He had gone to stay the night in the flat because his daughter was unwell at home.
He said: “I didn’t know anything about the drugs until police told me there were copious amounts of heroin found inside the property. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I am not guilty of touching any heroin, mixing any heroin, selling any heroin.”
However, the advocate-depute, Stephen O’Rourke, accused Brown of organising the shipment of heroin to the flat, and the jury took less than an hour to return a guilty verdict.
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