Two members of a county lines drug trafficking gang have been jailed for a total of 11 years and three months.
Mohammed Miah, 28, and Abdul Khan, 24, set up an operation to ferry substantial amounts of heroin and cocaine from their home city of Bradford to Edinburgh.
And they preyed on vulnerable addicts by offering them free drugs in return for letting them use their homes as bases to co-ordinate their illegal activities – a practice known as “cuckooing”.
At the High Court in Edinburgh, Miah was sentenced to six years and three months in prison while Khan was given a five-year sentence.
A third member of the gang, 22-year-old Jamie Fullalove, who acted as a drugs courier to transport the drugs from England, was served with a community payback order requiring him to be kept under supervision for two years and was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work
They had earlier pled guilty to offences under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
The offences took place between July 2018 and June 2020 and the charges were aggravated by each man’s connection to Serious Organised Crime.
Moira Orr, who leads on Homicide and Major Crime for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS, said: “This was a coordinated effort to bring significant quantities of illegal and harmful drugs to Scotland through a county lines operation.
“These men are now serving prison sentences thanks to an extensive police operation, working with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service to investigate a network of drug supply.
“This underlines our commitment to the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce and the country’s Serious Organised Crime Strategy.
“We are targeting all people who threaten communities across Scotland, not only drug couriers but also those who direct their movements. With each case of this kind, we can help reduce the harm these drugs inflict on those communities.”
Prosecutors told the court how Miah persuaded one woman – a crack cocaine addict – to let him stay at her home with the offer of free drugs.
Soon he had turned her flat into a drug-dealing den.
Another man was given £30 worth of crack cocaine every day to allow Miah and Khan to commandeer his property.
The court heard that Miah and Khan masterminded the operation by selling wraps of heroin and cocaine personally while directing others to sell drugs and collect money on their behalf.
Certain users were also persuaded to act as couriers or drivers.
Miah and Khan even used the bank accounts of the drug users they recruited to send the proceeds of their crimes to family members down south.
But their illicit scheme unravelled when police became aware of their activities.
Following their arrests, detectives found the trio were in possession of hundreds of pounds worth of heroin and cocaine as well as thousands of pounds in cash.
Each man has previous convictions for drug-related offences in England.
Detective Sergeant Mark Walker, of Police Scotland, said: “We remain committed to disrupting the illegal sale and supply of drugs.
“The police investigation focused on the movements and actions of the trio and how they operated throughout the city.
“These men exploited some extremely vulnerable people for their own gains with complete disregard for the misery drug misuse brings to individuals and communities.
“We will continue to work with partners to reduce the exploitation of vulnerable people and pursue offenders, making Scotland a hostile environment to those who seek to engage in criminal activity.”