Gang of 9 jailed over organised crime

22 January 2018, 15:30 | Updated: 22 January 2018, 15:31

Organised crime gang scotland

A serious organised crime gang involved in drugs, firearm trafficking and torture have given jail terms of up to nearly 16 years.

Judge Lord Beckett said police had uncovered "sophisticated, serious, and organised crime" involving an "arsenal of deadly weapons".

The High Court in Glasgow heard the gang imported huge quantities of class A drugs, acting as wholesalers to other dealers.

Prosecutors previously told how the group was at the "top of the chain" for drugs transactions in the UK but defence lawyers said the "powers behind this" were not in the dock.

Nine men pleaded guilty earlier to charges involving serious criminal activity, including firearms, drug dealing and violence, spanning 2013 to 2017.

The court heard the gang would package and hide substantial amounts of cash for taking to senior group members, who were involved in firearms trafficking to enforce their operations and were connected to the assault of a drug dealer and shots being fired at an Edinburgh home.

Lord Beckett said: "There's no doubt the police uncovered the workings of sophisticated, serious and organised crime."

He praised the "ingenuity and courage" of officers who carried out months of surveillance and found the gang would use vehicles and a network of industrial premises let under false names and addresses.

The court heard officers seized more than 1,000 items including encrypted mobile phones, counter-surveillance equipment, automatic pistols, machine guns and a grenade and around £1.6 million in cash.

David Sell, 50, was given the longest sentence of 15 years and eight months after admitting being involved in the abduction, although his lawyer stressed his limited involvement in the incident.

The court heard how the victim agreed to a drug deal but later found himself in debt to the group and fled to England where he was traced, seriously assaulted, chained up, put in a van and driven back to Scotland.

There he was punched, kicked, whipped with a chain, hit with a sledgehammer, sprayed with bleach and shot three times in the knees before being found by members of the public after being pushed down a hill.

Lord Beckett said while Sell was not physically involved in the worst acts of violence he facilitated "brutal and merciless torture".

He jailed Anthony Woods, 44, for 11 years and one month, Francis Mulligan, 41, to eight years and 324 days, and Michael Bowman, 30, for seven years, saying they were involved in organising vehicles and premises for "organised crime on a grand scale" - with the former two also possessing an "arsenal of deadly weapons".

Mulligan's lawyer, Donald Findlay QC, told the court: "Those who were the powers behind this, and the organisers and those who would principally benefit are not here", a position echoed by Woods' lawyer.

Gerard Docherty, 42, who shots a home in the Ratho area of Edinburgh with a submachine gun, was said by his lawyer to be "totally out of his depth", was jailed for 10 years and six months.

Former soldier Martyn Fitzsimmons, 37, was out on licence for a 12 year sentence in England for procuring explosives and weapons on the day he was found in possession of a semi-automatic weapon, ammunition and £36,000 and was sentenced to 10 years and six months.

Barry O'Neil, 37, was jailed for seven years and four months for his involvement in drug trafficking while Mark Richardson, 30, who has two previous High Court convictions for drugs, was sentenced to eight years and nine months.

Steven McArdle, 33, who had a semi-automatic weapon, was jailed for seven years and 100 days.