Four major drug dealers jailed after police raids
A convict who ran a drug operation from his prison cell in Edinburgh has been sentenced to nine years and six months.
Paul McIntyre, 28, used mobile phones smuggled into Saughton and Addiewell prisons to traffic class A drugs.
He was one of four major drug dealers jailed following raids that seized £850,000 worth of heroin and cocaine.
David Hughes, 48, was jailed for eight years, Scott Gardner, 29, for five years and Isaac McKinnon, 34, for five years and eight months.
McIntyre pled guilty to being concerned in the supply of both heroin and cocaine, bringing it up from Liverpool to Edinburgh.
He masterminded three major drugs transactions from jail while serving a 45-month sentence for drug dealing.Joint operation
Hughes was described by the judge as McIntyre's "junior partner" in the whole enterprise.
McKinnon admitted being concerned in the supply of heroin at his home in May 2011.
Gardner, from Edinburgh, pled guilty to being concerned in the supply of heroin at the A720 Edinburgh City Bypass near Dreghorn junction in June 2011.
The High Court at Livingston was told how police officers intercepted 6.18 kilos of heroin with a street value of £611,900 and 2.55 kilos of cocaine valued at £101,640.
The consignments of class A drugs had been collected from Hughes' home in Huyton, Liverpool, where they were mixed, weighed and packed.
When police from Scotland raided the house in a joint operation with Merseyside Police, they found a press, a mould with plates, scales and a 25 kilogram drum of bulking agent.
Two empty 25 kilogram drums, parcel tape and numerous mobile phones and sim cards were also found.
In Scotland, McKinnon arranged for the drugs to be sold on from his home in Niddrie, Edinburgh.
He also controlled courier Stephen Corns, who is currently serving a sentence of five years 219 days for drug supply.
Corns was arrested by police when he stepped off a Liverpool to Edinburgh train at Haymarket in May 2011 with nearly 1.2 kilos of heroin in his rucksack.'Evil trade'
Gardner was caught after agreeing to collect three parcels from a courier as a favour for an old friend.
He claimed he did not know the packages, which were seized while he circled the drop-off point phoning the courier, contained heroin with a street value £175,000.
Passing sentence on all four, Lord Boyd commended the "excellent" work of police officers who ran the successful drugs operations, which began as Operation Atom in Dumfries and Galloway in September 2010 and concluded as Operation Laurel in Lothian and Borders in October 2011.
"The trafficking in class A drugs is a vile and evil trade," he told the accused.
"Drug, and particularly heroin abuse, brings misery to individuals, to families and to communities where drugs are rife.
"Drugs are the wellspring of much other crime."