THE boss of an elite crime-busting squad last night revealed how his officers are using new tactics to make sure less cocaine and heroin finds its way onto the streets of Paisley.
Gordon Meldrum heads up the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency – dubbed ‘The Untouchables’ – whose headquarters are in Paisley.
And he claims his officers have made a huge dent in Scotland’s drug trade by taking their battle straight to ruthless Mr Bigs.
Instead of waiting to pounce on pushers once Class A drugs have been cut down to street-level deals, SCDEA cops are now seizing cocaine and heroin at source – while the substances are in their purest form.
As he published the SCDEA’s annual report yesterday, Mr Meldrum revealed that more than 80kg of Class A drugs – some with a purity level ranging from 70 to 100 per cent – had been ripped out of the hands of dealers in the last year.
That is a smaller total than in previous years but he claims the seizures have prevented at least 400kg of watered-down heroin and cocaine from flooding our streets.
With the average purity of a street-level deal in Scotland standing at just five per cent, these cocaine seizures alone prevented 1.4million lines of coke from reaching low-level pushers.
Mr Meldrum – a former Paisley copper who has trained with the FBI in America – said: “We no longer have targets for individual drug seizures. We now have an overall target for disruptions we cause to serious and organised crime.
“In the past, we have had Class A targets for 300kg but the 80kg we’ve taken this year are very high purity and, in a very conservative estimate, those 80kg of cocaine and heroin would easily have achieved over 400kg of street-level purity drugs.
“Whilst in numerical terms it might be less than previous years, the important point is that’s no longer how we measure success.”
In the past year, the SCDEA has disrupted the actions of 59 of Scotland’s most dangerous criminal groups and arrested 195 people – including 73 top crime bosses.
They have also seized 1,376kg of illegal drugs with a street value of £33million, as well as a further 217kg of chemicals used to ‘cut’ illegal drugs and boost profits.
A record haul of £1.26million of hard cash has also been seized from the pockets of criminals – six times the amount seized the previous year – and SCDEA investigations resulted in a crooks being locked up for a total of 275 years.
The hit squad’s new approach to catching out the bad guys also includes a number of inventive methods aimed at ‘disrupting’ their personal lives and other business interests.
In the past year, SCDEA officers have teamed up with car dealerships to prevent drug gangs from laundering money by leasing out expensive motors.
And they have also cracked down on rogue taxi firms which are used as a front for dealers by preventing them from winning licences from local councils.
“The focus has changed,” explained Mr Meldrum. “We now take and disrupt wherever we can. We’re trying to be as creative and as audacious as we possibly can to make life more difficult for organised crime.”
Paisley Daily Express 4TH August 2011
Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.