Glasgow & West Scotland

Drugs gang 'Mr Big' Roy Dunstance jailed for 11 years

The head of a criminal gang which brought millions of pounds of heroin, cocaine, amphetamine and guns into Scotland has been jailed for 11 years.

Roy Dunstance, 39, admitted directing others to commit drugs, gun and proceeds of crime offences from his home in Benalmadena, in Spain.

He was caught after police accessed electronic messages he sent associates.

Dunstance later surrendered himself to a European Arrest Warrant in Holland before being brought to Scotland.

Jailing him at the High Court in Edinburgh, judge Lord Burns told Dunstance that he would have imposed the maximum sentence of 14 years on him but for his guilty plea.

Operation Brora

Lord Burns said: "It is accepted you were the head of this group and that group was in the top 5% of such groups in this country."

The court heard that police targeted Dunstance's gang in Operation Brora.

During the course of the operation they seized almost £8m worth of heroin, along with large amounts of other drugs and guns.

They initially encountered difficulty as Dunstance was living in Spain and communicated with his associates via the instant Blackberry messaging service, BBM.

Until recently law enforcement agencies were unable to obtain the content of the messages on BBM due to the encryption used.

When this was overcome, however, police were able to see that Dunstance was directing the entire operation from his Spanish home.

Dunstance's closest associate was David Hawthorne who oversaw drugs and guns held at safe houses at a tower block in Linkwood Crescent, Drumchapel, Glasgow.

Police placed hidden cameras in the 11th floor of the block and Hawthorne was seen moving bags for storage while wearing latex gloves.

In May this year officers forced entry to flats and recovered cash, drugs, guns, ammunition and silencers, body armour, a 10-tonne press and other drug dealing gear along with a £5,000 Breitling watch.

Dunstance's co-accused, James Hanlon, 32, was also jailed for two years and four months for trafficking in cannabis.

He will will start that sentence at the end of an 11-year prison term imposed on him earlier this year for drug and firearms offences.

Hawthorne was earlier jailed for 14 years, reduced to nine on appeal, for his part.

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