30/11/2012

Cocaine Gang Jailed

Five men have been sentenced to jail after being found guilty of running cocaine factories from their homes in the west of Scotland.

Kristopher Murray, 22, James Fox, 37, Michael Fernandez, 47, Joseph Shields, 29, and Scott Mather, 42, were caught during police raids.

Cocaine was recovered from their homes in Glasgow and Lanarkshire, thought to have a street value of £1,762,296.

All five pleaded guilty to involvement in the supply of cocaine at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Murray was jailed for seven years, Fox received five years, Fernandez for four years and two months, Shields was sentenced to two years and three months and Mather was jailed for six years.

Police say they uncovered "sophisticated cocaine factories" at the men's homes including presses, drugs paraphernalia and large amounts of cocaine.

Speaking after sentencing, Lindsey Miller, head of the serious and organised crime division, said: "Operation Filament was a highly complex investigation, in which Scottish prosecution and law enforcement agencies worked closely with forensic scientists to track the gang's operations around Scotland.

"We remain absolutely committed to detecting and disrupting organised crime across the country, and I hope others who may be involved in the drugs trade take heed of this case - it is only a matter of time until you are tracked down and brought to justice."

Det Ch Supt Athol Aitken, from the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, added: "This case highlights the expertise held within the Scottish Police Service and how it can impact on serious and organised crime.

"This operation involved the effective use of law enforcement specialists and advanced techniques to take on a criminal organisation and we continue to develop our intelligence and investigative methods to ensure that we are best equipped to tackle criminality at all levels."

(IT)

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