19 arrested as police swoop in dawn raids across the city

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A SUSPECTED drug dealer frantically tried to flush his mobile phone down the toilet as police stormed his flat.

The man – described as a “significant individual” in Edinburgh’s organised crime network – was one of 19 people arrested as police carried out one of their biggest co-ordinated crackdowns in the Capital in recent years.

One of those people arrested is led away by officers to an unmarked car. Picture: TSPL

One of those people arrested is led away by officers to an unmarked car. Picture: TSPL

Yesterday’s dawn raids saw around 170 officers target homes and businesses across the Capital.

They seized £100,000 worth of heroin from a house in Niddrie as well as several “dealer quantities” in other properties.

A quarter kilo of cannabis was also recovered in the Southside, while cash amounting to £5000 was seized from several of the 22 homes targeted.

Eighteen people – 12 men and six women – will appear in court on Monday on drugs and gang-related charges, while a 27-year-old woman was reported to the Procurator Fiscal over a small quantity of heroin.

In organised crime they can franchise into anything – it can be currency, second-hand cars, drug-dealing”

DCI KENNY GRAY

The Evening News joined police at a flat in Milton as part of the string of co-ordinated hits in the south and east of the city.

Riot officers used specialist equipment to force entry into the first-floor flat shortly after 6am. A woman inside could be heard screaming while officers shouted “police” as they barged into the hallway.

The suspect was later led out in handcuffs, as it emerged that he had attempted to flush his Blackberry phone down the toilet.

He bowed his head as officers escorted him to an unmarked car and drove away.

Police in riot gear storm a flat early yesterday morning as part of the raids. Picture: TSPL

Police in riot gear storm a flat early yesterday morning as part of the raids. Picture: TSPL

Meanwhile, Trading Standards, the Health and Safety Executive and HM Revenue and Customs officers assisted police in two raids on garages.

A stolen motorbike was recovered in Craigmillar and £5000 in cash was seized from a home in Gracemount.

Local officers and specialists from CID have been working on Operation Amyloid – targeting serious and organised crime links to Class A drug supply and money laundering – for several months.

Senior officers were keen to stress that the operation would continue in earnest following yesterday’s day of enforcement.

In an early-morning briefing ahead of the raids, Detective Chief Inspector Kenny Gray told officers not to underestimate the importance of their work.

He said: “Think about the good people who will be going about their business, going out to work and taking their kids to school. They will all support your actions this morning.”

Speaking to the News after the successful raids, he said the main focus of the operation was to “disrupt and dismantle” serious and organised crime in Liberton, Gilmerton and Craigmillar.

“We will not accept it,” DCI Gray said. “Although these areas are busy areas for police, the overwhelming majority are decent, hard-working people.

“In organised crime, they can franchise into anything – it can be currency, second-hand cars, drug-dealing.

“They’ll have their tentacles in lots of businesses, if there’s any opportunity of making money. And every opportunity they do take is at the expense of ordinary hard-working people.”

While those arrested were mainly linked to the supply of Class A drugs, the group is also suspected of supplying cannabis resin.

After the early-morning house searches and arrests, local officers handed out leaflets encouraging residents to come forward with information to support their investigations.

Local area commander for south Edinburgh, Chief Inspector Mark Rennie, said his officers were given intelligence about organised crime “virtually every day”.

He said concerns about drug-dealing and other gang-related activities were always among the top issues brought up by residents in crime surveys.

Ch Insp Rennie said: “Edinburgh is such a close-knit community. We know who these people are and the community knows who these people are.

“Since April, we have seized in excess of £4 million in terms of proceeds of crime, from people in organised crime in the south. We’ve made 150 arrests of nominals linked to serious and organised crime groups.”

On Monday, 12 men – aged 21, 22, 22, 24, 25, 25, 25, 26, 28, 29, 44 and 48 – will appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court alongside six women aged 19, 24, 25, 26, 27 and 44.

The majority face charges under the Misuse of Drugs Act while several also face serious and organised crime charges.

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com