Raids have been carried out at nine different addresses in Aberdeen as part of a major crackdown on an organised crime group pedalling drugs in the city.
Three people were arrested and more than £30,000 of Class A drugs were recovered during the course of the six-month intelligence-led operation.
The Evening Express and Press and Journal were given exclusive access to the early-morning raids – as part of Operation Makeshift – which involved a 40-strong team of officers.
Six of the raids were coordinated to take place at the stroke of 7.30am yesterday.
At an address in Garthdee’s Morrison Drive officers were met by a “surprised and confused” man who had been sound asleep in his bed when the team used a battering ram to gain entry to his flat.
The police seized weapons, including a samurai sword and a knife, before a canine officer and PD Hamish helped in the search for drugs.
Honing in on organised crime gang
Officers targeted properties in Morrison Drive, Wallfield Crescent, Baker Street, Mill Drive, Smithfield Court, River Don Gardens, Bannermill Place and Berryden Road in the hunt for key members of what is believed to be a Liverpool-based organised crime gang.
Over the course of the six-month operation crack cocaine with a street value of £18,000, heroin with a £13,000 street value and £19,390 of cash were recovered.
Three men – aged 22, 35, and 47 – will appear in court at a later date.
Detective Inspector Martyn Thomson, of Aberdeen CID, said the raids were the culmination of an extensive intelligence operation.
He said: “Operation Makeshift is a County Line that has been operating in Aberdeen.
“Essentially, it is run by England-based organised crime group who exploit vulnerable people locally to serve Class A drugs in Aberdeen.
“The operation was a combination of six months’ work. Operation Makeshift aims to remove them entirely from the city and prevent them from exploiting vulnerable people and preventing the supply of Class A drugs in the north-east.
“We were hoping to arrest the head of the group, the main operatives in the group and hopefully recover controlled drugs.”
He added: “We have zero tolerance to the exploitation of vulnerable people and to those who continue to supply drugs in Aberdeen
“Drugs have got no place in our society and we are committed to disrupting and removing the supply of controlled drugs in Aberdeen.”
DI Thomson urged anyone with concerns about drug use and supply in their area to report them to Police Scotland.
“Today’s operation shows we’re committed to identifying the supply chain of drugs and disrupting the activity of people intent on bringing them to the north-east,” he added.
“Drugs cause nothing but harm and despair to families and communities.
“However we can’t do this alone. The public continues to play a vital role in assisting investigations into drug crime and I would encourage anyone who believes an individual or property within their community may be being exploited for criminal purposes to contact Police Scotland.”
Mr Thomson added: “Pro-actively targeting organised crime groups who exploit vulnerable people and import drugs into our communities for their own illicit gain remains a priority for our officers.
“County Lines groups typically use young or vulnerable people to deliver or store drugs, and to sell to customers. This usually involves intimidation, violence and in some cases the sexual exploitation of young people.
“It’s also common for members of a group to take over a vulnerable person’s home as a base to conduct their operations from, often coercing the person into helping them through violence or threats of violence.”