Drugs ring smashed as three jailed for 28 years

ONE of Scotland's biggest drugs gangs has been dismantled after three of its members were jailed for a total of 28 years yesterday.

Lothian and Borders Police last night hailed the success of a long-running operation that has resulted in ten people being convicted of drug trafficking over the past year.

The head of the CID spoke out as one of Edinburgh's biggest drug dealers was sentenced to 16 years behind bars after blasting gunshots outside a crowded pub in a chilling warning to another man.

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Sean McGovern, 25, who headed the drugs ring, targeted the Gauntlet Bar in Broomhouse, where Jamie Hyland and his family were regulars. He and his driver, Terry Scott, were caught because police had bugged McGovern's house as part of an undercover operation.

Police using information gleaned from the wiretap were able to recover the shotgun, which had been dismantled into three pieces and dumped in bushes in Morningside Park.

They also found gloves, which they heard Scott telling associates he had dropped, saying: "It's a schoolboy error, f****** schoolboy error." The gloves contained his DNA.

The judge, Lord Turnbull, jailed McGovern for ten years for drug-dealing and a further six years and nine months for the shooting. He told him: "It is obvious you were at the head of a very profitable and large-scale enterprise."

Referring to the shooting, the judge said: "The courts are not going to sit back and see gun culture introduced into our cities without acting appropriately."

Scott, who drove McGovern to the pub on the night of the shooting last September and later disposed of the shotgun and car, was jailed for five years and seven months.

Darren Elliot, who admitted couriering drugs for McGovern on two occasions, was jailed for five years and seven months.

The High Court in Glasgow was told McGovern was driven to the pub in a BMW convertible by Scott at about 10:20pm. Both men were wearing masks.

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McGovern got out holding a double-barrelled shotgun at waist height, walked towards the side of the pub and fired two shots. Paul Kearney, prosecuting, said: "Panic ensued and people standing outside the pub ran inside. McGovern then got back in the passenger seat of the BMW and was driven off at speed."

"McGovern's purpose was to intimidate and frighten Jamie Hyland, rather than to harm him or any other person."

Edgar Prais, QC, for McGovern, said the shooting related to a "personal matter" that had nothing to do with drugs.

Yesterday's sentencing brings two police operations targeting the drugs ring to a close. More than 323,500 worth of class A drugs were seized .

Det Chief Superintendent Malcolm Graham said: "The group posed one of the biggest threats to the public. McGovern was one of a small number of people willing to use threats and violence to the level they were."