Heroin and cocaine gang sentenced to 24 years ‘as an example to others’
Five men have been jailed for a total of more than 24 years after police seized drugs with a street value of about £1.76 million.
A judge told the men at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday that he had to impose relatively lengthy sentences to try to deter others from the illegal trade.
After sentencing, Detective Inspector Owen McDonach, of Strathclyde Police’s major crime investigation unit, said: “This has been a long, detailed and complex investigation, with several dedicated officers working on the inquiry.
“Today’s verdict sends a strong message to those intent on causing misery by supplying and peddling drugs that they will not get away with it.
“We will do everything within our power to disrupt and dismantle drug dealers and serious organised criminals who make money from their criminal activities and think nothing of the communities they harm.”
The total street value of the cocaine recovered by police was £1,762,296.
The judge, Lord Matthews, told Scott Mather he had admitted involvement with “very significant amounts of both cocaine and heroin” and jailed him for six years.
Mather, 42, of Summerston in Glasgow, had earlier pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of both Class-A narcotics at his home address in September last year.
Defence counsel Mark Stewart, QC, said that when Mather became unemployed, he took an offer put to him to “make a few quid” by storing material.
Co-accused Kristopher Murray, 22, of Knightswood, in Glasgow, was jailed for seven years.
He admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine and possessing a pistol on 28 June last year.
Susan Duff, defending, said he had become involved in using drugs, got into debt, and was asked to provide “a safe house” for items linked to the trade.
Fitness trainer Michael Fernandez, 47, from Motherwell, in Lanarkshire, was jailed for four years and two months after admitting being concerned in the supply of cocaine in October. His counsel, Ian Duguid, QC, said he became part of a police surveillance operation targeting another individual after a meeting at the car park of the Black Bear restaurant in Glasgow.
When police arrived at his home, he was preparing to cut cocaine with benzocaine he had picked up from the meeting.
Mr Duguid said: “He is extremely remorseful about his involvement.”
James Fox, 37, of Bellshill, was jailed for five years after admitting being concerned in the supply of cocaine on 5 October last year, and Joseph Shields, 29, of Springboig, Glasgow, was jailed for two years and three months after admitting a similar offence at his home on 19 August, 2011.
Lindsey Miller, head of the Crown Office serious and organised crime division, said: “[This] was a highly complex investigation in which Scottish prosecution and law-enforcement agencies worked closely with forensic scientists to track the gang’s operations around Scotland.
“We remain absolutely committed to detecting and disrupting organised crime across the country and I hope others who may be involved in the drugs trade take heed of this case – it is only a matter of time until you are tracked down.”
Detective Chief Superintendent Athol Aitken, of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, said: “The sentences send another clear message to criminals involved in drug trafficking that the Scottish Police Service will continue to bring those involved to justice.”
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