A FORMER Hibs youth player caught with the largest haul of drugs ever seized by a Scottish police force has been jailed for nine years.
Kris Brown, 29, and two co-accused, Lee Knott and Iain Hunter, were convicted of supplying heroin and other drugs at a hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh last month.
Lothian and Borders Police raided Knott’s flat in Sighthill View, Edinburgh, on December 16, 2010, where they found around 17kg of heroin as well as other class A and B drugs. The raid was part of Operation Congress, which targets serious organised crime.
The heroin had an estimated street value of between £800,000 and £1.7 million.
Knott and 22-year-old Hunter admitted their part in the offences at earlier hearings. Brown denied all the charges against him.
Sentencing them at the High Court in Glasgow, judge Lord Boyd of Duncansby said the three men were involved in a “vile and evil trade”. He said: “It ruins lives, tears families apart and is known to cause major health problems.”
Brown was convicted by a unanimous jury last month. He had once been a promising young player at Hibs, playing alongside stars such as Ian Murray and Derek Riordan.
The judge jailed Brown for nine years for supplying heroin, four years for supplying cocaine and a further ten months for two other drugs charges. His prison terms will run concurrently and were backdated to July 10, when he was remanded in custody.
Knott was sentenced to five years and four months for supplying heroin, three years and six months for supplying cocaine and four months for supplying the class B drug mephedrone. His sentences also run concurrently and were backdated to July.
Hunter was said to be less involved but has previous convictions including an assault to severe injury with a racially aggravated element. He was jailed for four years and six months, also backdated to July.
Lothian and Borders Police said that since Operation Congress launched in April 2010, around 30kg of class A drugs with a potential street value of about £3.5m had been seized, as well as £53,000 in cash and a number of firearms.
The operation has resulted in the arrests of 31 people.
Chief Constable David Strang said: “Today’s sentences are the culmination of a significant operation for the force, and I am pleased the hard work and investigation undertaken by my officers has yielded positive results.”
Detective Superintendent David Gordon, head of the force’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: “The three men who have been sentenced were preparing to flood our streets with a massive amount of heroin. I have no doubt that the seizure of these drugs has prevented serious harm occurring in local communities.”