DRUG dealers have been warned that police are coming for them – after a gang was jailed for a total of more than 25 years.
Neil Scott, 39, Ryan Ingleston, 25, Andrew Raven, 34, and Andrew Weir, 27, were locked up after £275,000 of cocaine and cannabis was found.
The quartet were snared by Police Scotland in January this year after properties in Linlithgow and Bathgate were raided as part of Operation Pickering – an intelligence-led drug operation.
The court heard the operation was commissioned after Police Scotland detectives began hunting gangsters from the west of Scotland.
Officers soon became aware that the four men were selling narcotics in the West Lothian area.
Detective Inspector David Wright, of the Specialist Crime Division, said there was no hiding place for drug dealers.
He said: “Through our inquiries it became clear that these men were responsible for supplying a significant quantity of controlled drugs to the east of Scotland.
“They’re now facing a future behind bars, which I hope sends a clear message to anyone involved in the sale and supply of illegal drugs.”
Cannabis resin and cocaine with an estimated street value of £108,570 and £36,000 respectively were seized by police. Herbal cannabis worth around £8000 was also discovered.
David Liddell, CEO of the Scottish Drugs Forum, said almost one in seven of Scotland’s drug overdose deaths were caused by cocaine.
He said: “Even a large police seizure of drugs is unlikely to have a significant impact on the overall supply and availability of drugs. It does, however, disrupt the criminal work of local drug gangs.
“In terms of harms to drug users, cases such as this are unlikely to have reduced the harms associated with drug use.
“The latest statistics show that the number of deaths for which cocaine was implicated, or to which it potentially contributed, most usually in combination with other drugs including alcohol, more than doubled to 93 in Scotland in 2015 – that is nearly one in seven of Scotland’s drug overdose deaths.”
Scott, from Bathgate, was sentenced to nine years and 11 months in prison having pleaded guilty to drug supply last month at Livingston High Court.
He was arrested on January 5 alongside Ingleston, from West Lothian, after officers searched their vehicles in Bathgate and recovered cannabis resin.
Ingleston also pleaded guilty to supplying drugs and has been ordered to serve three years and seven months behind bars.
Raven, from Linlithgow, and Weir, of Bathgate, were both locked up for five years and ten months.
Yesterday, Lord Kinclaven told the men: “A custodial sentence is inevitable.”