A man with links to serious organised crime who operated a multi-million pounds smuggling operation to traffic Class A drugs from South America to Scotland has been jailed for three years and nine months.
Tony Bennett, 33, relied on trusted couriers to import raw cocaine and heroin from Ecuador.
He then used secret laboratories to refine the drugs along with a number of associates before supplying and selling them to dealers throughout Scotland.
Bennett was sentenced at the High Court in Aberdeen after pleading guilty to a charge of being concerned in serious organised crime between March and June 2020 at locations in Glasgow, Uddingston and Cumbernauld.
Sineidin Corrins, Deputy Procurator Fiscal for specialist casework at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, said: “Tony Bennett was an important link in the chain with an international cartel to import large quantities of Class A drugs into Scotland.
“These drugs would have caused immense harm. But with this conviction, we have removed these drugs from the streets and made communities safer.
“This successful prosecution reinforces our determination to continue to disrupt serious organised crime.
“We will continue to collaborate with our partners as a member of Scotland’s Serious and Organised Crime Taskforce to tackle serious organised crime and this kind of case highlights the extensive work that has been ongoing against these groups.”
Prosecutors told the court how a police-led intelligence operation found evidence of Bennett’s drug-running scheme.
The court heard how Bennett, who used the pseudonyms “Mr Nice” and “Kind Killer” in encrypted messages, was in contact with 60 criminal associates all over the world.
In one conversation, he claimed that a cocaine deal could ‘net them a profit of £2.5m”.
In another, he discussed the purchase of an automatic machine gun on behalf of another unnamed person.
Bennett was arrested following a police raid on his Cumbernauld home in August 2021.
He will now be the subject of a confiscation order under proceeds of crime legislation.