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Highland Life / News / Northern Constabulary News / Sentences Announced for North Drug Dealers - Caithness and Suthe

Sentences Announced for North Drug Dealers - Caithness and Suthe

Issued: 22 Mar 2007

NORTHERN Constabulary today welcomed the sentences handed out to the two individuals involved in the supply of substantial quantities of Class A drugs (ecstasy and amphetamine) over the last 5 years in the Caithness and Sutherland area of the Highlands.

Today at Edinburgh High Court, David William John MacPhee and Reham Ali Amin were sentenced to a total of seven and a half years for their part in the supply of illegal drugs through an organised network.

MacPhee received a four and a half year sentence, while Amin received three years.

This is viewed as a major success for the Caithness & Sutherland Command Area's "Operation Jonah," which was an intelligence led operation which focused on individuals involved in the large scale supply of Class A drugs within the area.

Detective Sergeant Steve MacDonald, based in Wick, said, "There is no doubt that a large scale criminal operation has been significantly disrupted with the sentencing of these two individuals today.

"Our proactive approach to dealing with drug suppliers like David MacPhee has been achieved with the significant assistance of community members who have been affected either directly or indirectly by this scourge on society.

"They have demonstrated that they will not tolerate, nor be intimidated by those intent on profiting from the many young lives affected by drug abuse, not to mention the associated misery that generally accompanies such abuse for other, innocent, family members."

In carrying out enquiries Police had to deal with many drug users and their associates, who realised that they were being manipulated in order to expand a drug dealing network operated by MacPhee and Amin.

A key development in the enquiry came in 2006 when a vehicle, linked through intelligence to Operation Jonah, travelling north was intercepted by Police Officers.

A search of this vehicle resulted in the seizure of over 4,000 ecstasy tablets with a street value of approximately £20,000.

Police enquiries subsequently linked this seizure to MacPhee and ascertained that this was one of many 'drug runs' to Caithness organised and funded by MacPhee.

DS MacDonald added: "It became apparent that MacPhee recruited many of those who were involved in the distribution of drugs on his behalf by taking advantage of their habit.

"He would initially often let them have drugs for free, before then charging them and allowing them to accumulate a spiralling debt that they couldn't repay. They were then forced or intimidated into distributing ecstasy and amphetamine on his behalf, thereby widening his network and increasing his profits. Many of those who became associated with MacPhee spent thousands of pounds on their habits".

On 7 January 2006, both MacPhee and Amin, in a joint initiative between Caithness and Sutherland and other areas, were stopped by police heading North on the A9 at Tore. They were found to be in possession of drugs with a street value of £25,000 which were bound for Caithness.

Subsequent enquiries found that this substantial seizure was, according to DS MacDonald, "The tip of the iceberg in respect of MacPhee's operation."

Enquiries moved to an enforcement stage on 20 September 2006 in an operation involving the simultaneous entry to and search of two identified premises in Wick and the detention of two suspects, who were subsequently remanded in custody.

This involved numerous officers from the Caithness and Sutherland Command Area supported by drugs detection dogs.

Caithness and Sutherland Area Commander Chief Inspector John McDonald said: "It is a strategic priority for both the Force and Caithness and Sutherland to target serious criminality, especially those involved in the supply and distribution of controlled drugs.

"Operation Jonah and other similar initiatives demonstrate to the public our commitment to tackling the scourge on society that drugs and people who deal in such bring to our communities.

"The convictions today should send out a warning to all people who peddle this misery that we will use all means, at all levels to eradicate this menace from our communities, but in order to do so we need the continued assistance of the public through whatever means if we are to continue to be successful."

He added: "It is evident from Operation Jonah's success in the conviction of these two main Caithness dealers and other recent significant seizures within the Northern Constabulary area that Intelligence led policing has a direct impact on drug suppliers and their criminal networks operating within the area."

Police would urge anyone with any information about drug dealing or other drug related matters to contact their nearest Police Station in confidence or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme