THREE men have gone on trial accused of drug dealing after a police raid on a house uncovered up to £1.7 million of heroin.
The haul was the biggest seizure of heroin ever seen in the Lothians, and a detective told a court yesterday that the drugs were found lined up in dozens of bags in kitchen cupboards next to packets of biscuits.
The court also heard that the Sighthill home had been used as a “chopping shop” to prepare the drug for sale to other dealers.
A hydraulic press was found to compress the heroin into blocks, while cutting agents used to “bulk out” the drug and boost profits were discovered hidden in the attic.
Lee Knott, 23, of Calder Gardens, Kris Brown, 29, of Chesser Crescent, and Iain Hunter, 22, of Sighthill Green, appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh to deny the charges.
Detective Sergeant Charles Selcraig, who works in the force’s drug squad, told the jury that the raid produced the biggest seizure he had seen in his 32-year career.
The jury was shown a video of DS Selcraig examining the home in Sighthill View on December 16, 2010.
In a bedroom, the large hydraulic press sat in the middle of the floor with a hand-pump mechanism attached. DS Selcraig told the court that the device was used to compress drugs to be sold in “bricks”.
In the kitchen, a line of cocaine had been cut out on a worktop using an identity card with the name and photograph of Kris Brown on it.
DS Selcraig said there was evidence that someone had been snorting cocaine in the kitchen and interrupted, perhaps by the police raid.
Inside a kitchen cupboard, the footage showed three shelves packed with dozens of plastic bags of heroin each weighing around 250g each. DS Selcraig told the court that each bag was worth around £25,000.
Another cupboard contained a large bag of heroin next to packets of McVitie’s digestive biscuits, while a third contained a shelf filled with “bricks” of heroin in plastic film.
DS Selcraig said: “This was organised, not haphazard. There was a degree of professionalism here.”
He added that the operation appeared to be at the higher end of the “drug dealing pyramid” where heroin was “adulterated for onward supply to other drug dealers”.
Officers also found a “recipe” for cutting cocaine, with references to how much the “ching” – a nickname for the Class A drug – needed to be cut with glucose to ensure it could be sold at £40 a gramme.
The scribbled recipe was found in a drawer next to a letter addressed to an “L Knott”.
In the loft, a large cardboard drum containing paracetamol was found which DS Selcraig said had “Oriental writing” on it. He told the court that paracetamol shipped to the UK in bulk from China was often used as a cutting agent for heroin.
The court heard that 17.2kg of heroin had been recovered.
Knott, Brown and Hunter are accused of being concerned in the supply of heroin and cocaine between August 26 and December 16, 2010. They are also charged with being concerned in the supply of ecstasy, mephedrone and cannabis.
Knott and Brown are also charged with being in possession of cocaine.
The trial continues.