Glasgow & West Scotland

Gang guilty over £3.5m drug haul

John McHugh and Joseph Boland
Image caption McHugh and Boland admitted being involved in the supply of cannabis resin

Four men have admitted being involved in one of Scotland's biggest illegal drug operations.

The case at the High Court in Glasgow comes after police discovered more than a tonne (1,122kg) of cannabis resin valued at nearly £3.5m.

The discovery was made following a surveillance operation in July 2009.

John McHugh, 54, Joseph Boland, 54, both from Busby, Martin Gray, 41 from Ardrossan and Garry Ralph, 38, from Glasgow, will be sentenced later.

The Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) said the gang, headed by John McHugh, imported the drugs from mainland Europe for onward supply in Scotland.

During an intensive surveillance operation on 24 July last year, officers watched as drugs, wrapped in 34 individual bales, were delivered by van to a printers at an industrial estate in Scotts Road, Paisley.

Largest seizure

John McHugh and Joseph Boland were seen unloading the van, which inquiries later revealed was associated with a company run by McHugh.

When McHugh and Boland were arrested at the industrial unit, they were found with just under 800kg of cannabis resin, valued at £2.4m.

Martin Gray and Garry Ralph were both arrested after being seen taking possession of the drugs.

The operation led to the discovery of more than £3m worth of drugs, the largest single seizure by the SCDEA during 2009-10.

Det Ch Supt Allan Moffat, head of the investigation at SCDEA, said: "These men were intending to supply significant amounts of cannabis to parts of Scotland, and the seizures made during this investigation provide a clear indication of the level of profit these individuals would have generated from their criminal activity.

"Cannabis remains to be the most widely misused controlled drug in Scotland and represents a real threat to Scotland's communities.

"Too many of Scotland's communities are affected by the fear, intimidation and violence associated with the illegal drugs trade."

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