Former nursing home turned into drug trafficking base

Mark Quinn was extradited back to Scotland after being caught in the Netherlands as he attempted to flee a probe into organised drug trafficking.

Man admits turning former Liverpool nursing home into Scottish drug trafficking base National Crime Agency

A former fugitive who used a nursing home as a factory for a major drugs operation has admitted trafficking in amphetamines.

Police seized more than £11m worth of the drug linked to Mark Quinn in a series of raids carried out in Scotland and Merseyside.

During a search at Aldergrange Nursing Home, in Eaton Road, Liverpool, they discovered it was being used to prepare and bulk out the drugs for onward supply.

Advocate depute David McLean said specialist drugs officers noted that an organised crime gang was not only adulterating amphetamine at the premises but also producing amphetamine sulphate from amphetamine oil. 

The prosecutor told the High Court in Edinburgh: “They noted that this shows a level of sophistication rarely encountered, and is representative of an established organised criminal network, which operates at the upper levels of drug supply and trafficking.”

The court heard that a warrant was originally issued for Quinn, 58, in 2014 and after he disappeared a European arrest warrant was issued the following year.

Mr McLean said: “He remained at large throughout this period before being arrested on the European Arrest Warrant on October 8, 2021 in Maastricht, Netherlands.”

He was subsequently extradited to Scotland.

Quinn, formerly of Craven Lea, Liverpool, admitted being concerned in the supply of amphetamine between August 21 in 2013 and April 24 in 2014, when he appeared in court.

The offence was aggravated by a link with serious and organised crime.

The court heard that Quinn became a target for a police surveillance operation, dubbed Operation Kapuas, in 2013 aimed against members of a crime gang involved in drug supply in Scotland. 

In August 2013 officers watched an apparent drugs handover take place in Lanarkshire and later searched a flat in Saucel Crescent, Paisley, in Renfrewshire, where the load had been taken for storage.

They recovered 112 kilos of the Class B drug worth up to £3m on the streets.

Quinn’s fingerprints were found on packaging.

In February the following year police watched a Ford Transit van being driven south from Scotland to Liverpool.

Quinn later drove the van into the grounds of the nursing home where he was seen loading items into the rear of the vehicle.

The van was later stopped northbound on the M74 and taken to Motherwell police station where it was found to be transporting 100 kilos of amphetamine worth £2.4m.

The following month Quinn was seen in the company of others at a car auction business in Edinburgh before travelling to Stepps, in North Lanarkshire.

He later met up with a Scotsman in Liverpool and after a visit to the nursing home the accomplice was later stopped driving north.

He was found to have 100 kilos of amphetamine worth £3.2m.

Mr McLean said Merseyside police were granted a warrant to search the nursing home and an extensive search was carried out over two days.

He said: “Upon entering the property it became apparent that the building was being renovated. It was noted that there were three metal shipping containers in the yard and a number of construction workers were onsite.”

“A number of items were recovered which indicated that the premises were being used for the production and preparation of amphetamine from amphetamine oil.”

The prosecutor said face masks, basins, mixing paddles, gloves and packaging were found along with barrels of methanol and sulphuric acid which can be used to make amphetamine paste.

A heat sealing machine was also found along with sealed bags of the Class B drug worth in excess of £2m along with bulking agents.

Defence counsel Gail Gianni said Quinn was a joiner who worked in the building trade. She said there was a project to turn the nursing home into luxury flats but it ran into difficulties after a bank that was providing financing pulled out.

She said: “Mr Quinn would have carried out all the building work and he would have made a substantial sum of money from that project.”

She said he ran into financial problems and asked “certain people” for a loan of money.

She said: “Once he had done that he was easy prey for them.”

The judge, Lord Beckett, deferred sentence on Quinn for the preparation of a background report until next month. He remains in custody.

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