Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh drug gang leader sent to prison

Mark Richardson. Pic by Ciaran Donnelly
Image caption Mark Richardson has been given a 10 year sentence

The ringleader of a huge cocaine and heroin operation worth millions of pounds has been jailed for 10 years.

Mark Richardson, 23, was arrested after a two-year investigation into his activities, which were based in Edinburgh but operated nationally.

It led to the recovery of 40.8kg of Class A drugs including cocaine, heroin and crack cocaine with a potential street value of more than £2m.

Lothian and Borders Police arrested 66 people during the investigation.

To date, 14 people have been convicted and sentenced to a total of 44 years, while proceedings are still ongoing in relation to others.

Police said that when Richardson was arrested on 9 December last year, he was preparing a large quantity of crack cocaine with a street value of £700,000.

It was one of the biggest recoveries of the Class A drug in Scotland.

Principal figure

It emerged that Richardson was also a principal figure behind two other operations involving large quantities of cocaine being trafficked into Edinburgh.

Speaking after Richardson was sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh, Det Chief Supt Malcolm Graham, head of Lothian and Borders CID, said: "We welcome today's sentence, which is testament to the hard work of the police and prosecutors who brought this case to a successful conclusion.

"This investigation has destroyed a serious organised crime group that was heavily involved in drugs, threats and violence, and which was blighting local communities with its actions."

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