Glasgow & West Scotland

Drugs mastermind Sohaib Qureshi loses £70,000 crime cash

Sohaib Qureshi
Image caption Sohaib Qureshi was jailed for 12 years for smuggling and dealing in cocaine

A drug dealer who was jailed for 12 years over his part in an international drug ring is to have £70,000 seized under proceeds of crime laws.

Sohaib Qureshi, 35, from Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, is thought to have made £1.2m from trafficking cocaine from Colombia and the Caribbean to Scotland.

He was jailed in March last year after being caught along with two other men.

Qureshi will have to give up his stake in a Glasgow restaurant to meet the confiscation order.

The businessman, who was once described as a millionaire property owner, denied the charges against him but was convicted following a trial last year at the High Court in Edinburgh.

The court heard how officers from the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) targeted the drug smuggling operation which sourced high-purity cocaine in Colombia and the Dominican Republic.

Surveillance operation

As part of Operation Klaxon, undercover officers carried out surveillance on a house in Springburn, Glasgow, in April 2009.

Qureshi was seen at the house, along with Ronald Augustine, 53, from the city's Maryhill area and 37-year-old David Byrne, from Springboig, Glasgow.

Image caption Ronald Augustine and David Byrne were jailed over their involvement

When officers later stopped Qureshi and Byrne in a car, they found scales and other items used to cut and distribute drugs.

A raid was then carried out at the house in Springburn, where officers found 4.5 kilos of cocaine with a possible street value of £180,000 together with 5.5 kilos of benzococaine, which could be used to bulk out the drug.

Qureshi was later jailed for 12 years, with Augustine sentenced to seven years for providing a "safe house" for the cocaine operation and courier Byrne jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Two men were also jailed in the Caribbean and two Colombians were arrested in the country's capital Bogota after police were tipped off by their counterparts in Scotland.

Tuesday's confiscation hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh heard how Crown lawyers, pursuing Qureshi under proceeds of crime laws, had to sift through a total of 14,000 documents relating to property in Scotland and as far away as Dubai.

Judge Lord Glennie granted the confiscation order after hearing that it had been agreed that Qureshi's profits from the drugs trade had amounted to about £1.2m.

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