Glasgow & West Scotland

Organised crime gang jailed for 87 years

Six members of the gang Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Clockwise from top left: Gerard Docherty, Steven McCardle, Francis Mulligan, David Sell, Barry O'Neill and Martyn Fitzsimmons.

An organised crime gang has been jailed for a total of 87 years after a police probe into violence, drugs and firearms offences.

The nine-man gang included cocaine dealer Mark Richardson and soldier turned gun-runner Martyn Fitzsimmons.

The police investigation into the gang uncovered what was described as "a sophisticated web" of offences.

The gang had been due to stand trial at the High Court in Glasgow last year but admitted a number of reduced charges.

The list of crimes included the "merciless" torture of a man over an unpaid cocaine debt and a huge arsenal of weapons found hidden in a car.

Judge Lord Beckett said police had shown "extraordinary ingenuity, courage and commitment" to bring the gang to justice.

Richardson, 30, admitted having a Glock handgun in the city's Baillieston area. He was sentenced to eight years and nine months.

Fitzsimmons, 37, was jailed for 10 and a half years after admitting having a Glock and ammunition and hiding £36,000 of crime cash.

David Sell, 50, admitted being involved in the abduction and torture of a man who was later shot in the legs.

He was handed the biggest jail-term - 15 years and eight months.

Anthony Woods, 44, Francis Mulligan, 41, and Michael Bowman, 30, each accepted roles in "serious organised crime".

Image copyright Crown Office
Image caption Firearms were used to enforce the gang's lucrative drugs operations

Woods was sentenced to 11 years and one month.

Mulligan - described as the "electronics expert" for the gang - was jailed for eight years and 324 days, while Bowman received seven years for the same charge.

Gerard Docherty, 42, pled guilty to recklessly discharging a firearm at a house and was sentenced to 10 years and six months.

Steven McArdle, 33, admitted having a Glock firearm. He was jailed for seven years and 100 days.

Army ammunitions

Barry O'Neill, 37, was the final member of the gang to enter a guilty plea. He admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine and was sentenced to seven years and four months.

The crimes spanned between 2013 and 2017.

Prosecutor Alex Prentice QC told a hearing in December that the crime gang was "the most sophisticated encountered by Police Scotland".

He said: "Their operation centres on the importation of vast quantities of cocaine.

"Their role is as wholesalers to other organised crime groups.

"They are at the top of the chain in terms of drugs transactions in Scotland and the UK as a whole.

"The firepower at the disposal of this crime group is unprecedented in terms of the history of organised crime in Scotland."

The original indictment stated a charge that the nine had agreed to "commit and organise the commission of serious offences".

A number of locations across Scotland - including Glasgow and West Lothian - as well as the north of England were listed.

'Fear and misery'

Police Scotland said the gang "were responsible for bringing fear and misery to communities across Scotland".

Det Chf Supt Gerry McLean, head of Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism, said: "We welcome the fact that they have been brought to justice and will no longer to able to continue their criminal activities.

"I would like to thank the victims of this gang for their bravery in providing crucial evidence which led to the group submitting guilty pleas, such was the weight of the evidence placed on them.

"Today, collectively, they are facing in excess of 80 years in prison which demonstrates the seriousness of the crimes they were involved in."

Richardson was jailed for 10 years in 2010 after a major operation led to the seizure of £2m of cocaine and heroin.

Fitzsimmons was jailed for 12 years in 2008. The former army lance corporal was involved in the theft of army ammunitions and explosives to sell to criminals.

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