Four members of a serious organized crime group were jailed for a total of 22 years on Tuesday after police seized a haul of high purity cocaine worth up to £10 million on the streets during a raid at the premises of a kitchen firm.
James Davidson, David Mullarkey, Ellis Hardy and Wayne Smith were caught with the Class A drugs during the raid by detectives at the Hillingdon Industrial estate in Renfrewshire.
The drugs were smuggled in an HGV lorry supposedly transporting Belgian waffles and were to be transferred to a modified van for onward transportation when they were intercepted.
Davidson, 58, of Cooperage Court, Yoker, in Glasgow, Mullarkey, 47, of Fourth Avenue, Stepps, North Lanarkshire, Hardy, 42, and Smith, 39, both of Mitcham, in Surrey, earlier admitted facilitating the transportation and distribution of cocaine in June 2019.
A judge jailed Davidson and Mullarkey for six years and three months each for their roles in the operation. Hardy was imprisoned for five years and his cousin Smith was sentenced to four and half years in jail.
Lord Boyd of Duncansby told the four men at the High Court in Edinburgh:
“Serious organized crime poses a threat to us all. The trafficking of Class A drugs is a particular scourge to our society.”
He pointed out that Davidson had driven the drugs, which were up to 84 per cent pure, to DM Kitchens where they were transferred to a concealed compartment in a Transport van.
Lord Boyd said it was clear that a significant amount of planning was involved in the operation with Mullarkey allowing the business premises to be used as “staging post”.
The court heard that police were initially monitoring Hardy, who was seen with Smith, in the Transit van the day before the raid was carried out on June 22 after they drove to the industrial estate.
Davidson had driven an HGV to the rendezvous before police moved in to secure the illicit cargo which had the potential to make £9.96 million if adulterated and broken down into street deals.
Defense counsel Tony Graham QC, for Davidson, said he was assessed as posing a low likelihood of further offending and was of no risk to the public. He said that Davidson was “shocked” when he learned of the valuation placed on the drugs.
Dale Hughes, for Mullarkey, said he was facing “serious financial problems” after setting up a designer kitchen firm. He said Mullarkey had no idea cocaine was involved in the transaction and thought it concerned designer gear.
Victoria Young, for Hardy, said he found himself in a cycle of drug use and ran up debts of about £7,000.
“He was presented with an opportunity to repay that debt and he very much regrets he took that opportunity, given the consequences it has had for him.”
Defense counsel Gary Allan QC, for Smith, said he was a cousin to Hardy and accompanied him to try to be of support to him.
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