Pubdate: Tue, 19 May 1998
Source: Scotsman (UK) 
Author: Jim McBeth


In the biggest single enforcement operation in the history of Strathclyde
police, detectives and uniformed officers seized enough heroin for 7,000
drug deals yesterday in a series of dawn raids.

About 500,000 of drugs and stolen property were seized after more than 200
officers were drafted in for Operation Caesar. Thirty-eight people were put
behind bars - the most arrested in such raids.

The raids, which were concentrated in the north and south of Glasgow, took
weeks of surveillance and planning. Police said that last night more arrests
would follow soon.

The officer who co-ordinated the operation said: "We have put a large dent
in the activities of the dealers and saved lives in our communities."

Detective Superintendent Barry Dougall, Strathclyde's drugs co-ordinator,
added: "We visited 34 houses in the city and arrested 34 people. This
followed raids on Friday when we arrested four others, two men and two women."

It is understood there is no connection between the arrested people apart
from being allegedly involved in the wider drugs trade.

The raids involved the serious crime and drugs squads. The ages of those
arrested ranged from 18 to 55. There were 27 men and 11 women.

Mr Dougall said: "The operation focused on drugs and property and in the
planning stages we believed the best way to do it was to co-ordinate the
effort to have maximum effect.

"Since Friday, that has happened. We have made some significant seizures in
both drugs and property."

Officers recovered one kilogram of heroin with an estimated street value of
250,000 as well as a quarter of a kilo of cocaine and 2,000 temazepam
capsules or "jellies", which have been banned in this country since 1996.
Quantities of cannabis were also recovered.

The officers also seized stolen electrical goods and jewellery with a value
of 100,000 as well as a large quantity of credit cards, three vehicles and a
sawn-off shotgun.

Mr Dougall said: "We also recovered 30,000 in cash. The total comes to
approximately 500,000.

"The most significant thing is that we have recovered the drugs, which would
have put communities at risk. The heroin alone would break down into
approximately 7,000 deals. That is a great many individual deals taken off
the street, which is significant.

"The danger with heroin is that it causes deaths. We have had 32
drug-related deaths in Strathclyde in 1998; the vast majority involved
heroin. We have made a difference."

It is understood that, as a result of yesterday's 38 arrests, more will follow.

Mr Dougall added: "That is a distinct possibility, which is why I cannot
discuss tactics or strategy.

"The only correlation between the people arrested is that they were
allegedly involved in the wider drug trade, although it is entirely
possible, given the number of arrests, that we have damaged a wider network.

"This is the biggest single anti-drugs operation that Strathclyde police
have mounted in an operational environment. There have been larger
operations, which dealt with the bigger picture, but, in an enforcement
sense, this is the biggest.

"We are entirely happy about the result; it is part of a very strong message
to those who deal in drugs that we are committed to tackle the problem at
all levels, to make communities safer and better places to live."

John Orr, the chief constable of Strathclyde, was delighted by the operation.

He said: "Today's arrests represent weeks of hard work by Strathclyde police
officers. The events demonstrate the force's utter commitment to targeting
those responsible for peddling death and misery in our communities."

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Checked-by: Melodi Cornett