Two men have been jailed after using the postal system, the dark web and cryptocurrencies to move illegal substances across the world from an Aberdeen flat.
Connor Holmes, 24, and Scott Roddie, 29, were snared after packages from the Netherlands containing 8.2kg of MDMA, also known as ecstasy, were intercepted by the Border Force in December 2018.
Officers raided Holmes’ address on Thomson Street, where the parcels were destined for, and recovered more than 73,000 MDMA tablets worth at least £733,660.
A day later another package addressed to Holmes was found containing heroin, cocaine and more MDMA.
Police said the pair used the dark web and cryptocurrencies to support an international criminal marketplace trafficking drugs with a street value of around £1.3m.
At the High Court in Edinburgh on Tuesday, Holmes was sentenced to two years and three months and Roddie to six years and three months for being involved in the supply and importation of controlled drugs.
Gerry McLean, regional head of investigations at the National Crime Agency (NCA), said: “These two men were responsible for the global distribution of class A drugs on an industrial scale, and it is only right that they spend time behind bars.
“Holmes and Roddie thought that they could evade law enforcement by using the dark web and cryptocurrencies, hiding behind computer screens, and tricking our postal service into facilitating their dirty work.
“Drugs, money and violence all go hand-in-hand. The NCA and Police Scotland will continue to work together to stop organised criminals profiting from the importation and supply of drugs with the aim of reducing violence and exploitation across Scotland and the rest of the UK.”
Following a major investigation by the Organised Crime Partnership (Scotland), a team of officers from the NCA and Police Scotland, Holmes and Roddie were arrested and then pled guilty when they appeared at Edinburgh High Court on March 30.
Detective inspector Tom Gillan, of the Organised Crime Partnership (Scotland), said: “From the address in Aberdeen, Holmes and Roddie were able to receive and distribute illicit drugs, with a street value of around £1.3m on an international scale.
“The men made use of the dark web and cryptocurrencies to support their criminal market place and used the UK postal system to distribute the drugs. This was a blatant attempt to protect their criminal enterprise and frustrate international law enforcement, which ultimately failed.
“This is an example of a targeted investigation which disrupted a developed and sophisticated criminal model, based in the north-east of Scotland and I am happy to acknowledge the hard work of the officers involved in a complex and challenging investigation.”
David Green, procurator fiscal for homicide and major crime, said: “This was a concentrated effort to bring significant quantities of illegal and harmful drugs through Scotland, which was foiled thanks to co-operation between law enforcement agencies and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (Copfs).
“Drugs cause harm and feed addiction in Scotland’s communities and these men sought to profit from that misery.
“Copfs is committed to working with partners to reduce that harm and ensure we continue to pursue and prosecute those who seek to profit from drugs.”