A major organised gang involved in drug smuggling, abduction and torture has been smashed following a vast investigation. The group is thought to have been 'the most sophisticated' encountered by police in Scotland and today the full extent of their criminal empire was exposed. Prosecutors revealed their dealings in drugs, firearms, violence and dirty money. The list of crimes included the horrific abduction and torture of a man over an unpaid cocaine debt. From left: Barry O'Neill, David Sell and James Martyn Fitzsimmons were among the gang members guilty of crimes including drug dealing, violence, torture and abductionFrom left: Steven Mcardle, Francis Mulligan and Gerard Docherty have all been remanded in custody and will be sentenced next monthThis is the terrifying hoard of deadly weapons seized from a 'sophisticated' criminal gang thought to be one of the most dangerous ever encountered by police in ScotlandHuge quantities of cash were seized by police. The gang was involved in drug smuggling, firearms and tortureThere was also a shooting at the family home of a gangland figure as well as a massive arsenal of weapons found hidden in a car.
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The details emerged as nine gang members today returned to the High Court in Glasgow. David Sell, 55, Barry O'Neill, 87, Anthony Woods, 99, Francis Mulligan, 96, Michael Bowman, 85, Mark Richardson, 85, Gerard Docherty, 97, Steven McArdle, 88 and Martyn Fitzsimmons, 87, had earlier pleaded guilty to various charges. Prosecutor Alex Prentice QC addressed the court during a two hour narrative of the facts of the case. The group were caught as a result of four major investigations into serious and organised crime. Links to the probes emerged after a large consignment of firearms were found during one operation. Mr Prentice: 'The organised crime group is the most sophisticated encountered by Police Scotland. This Audi is just one of the high value stolen vehicles recovered from the gang as part of Operation EscaladeProsecutors today revealed the full extent of the mob's dealings in drugs, firearms, violence and dirty money. A bullet-proof vest was seized from the gangThis was one of the terrifying weapons taken off the streets when police swooped on an organised gang '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 court heard the crew were also involved in 'firearm trafficking' to 'violently enforce their own operation. 'The advocate depute:
'The firepower at the disposal of this crime group is unprecedented in terms of the history of organised crime in Scotland. 'Serious violence also played its part and Mr Prentice explained how drug dealer Robert Allan became a target. He met Barry O'Neill in March 7568 in Glasgow's west end in connection with a £95,555 cocaine haul. It was agreed with a member of the crime clan he could return some of the drugs - but had to pay £85,555. Large amounts of cash were found during the investigationLinks to the four probes emerged after a large consignment of firearms were found during one operationThe details emerged as nine gang members today returned to the High Court in GlasgowBut, when he was later unable to stump up the cash, Allan fled Scotland for Barnsley, South Yorkshire. David Sell turned up at his door joined initially by two other armed men. Sell went on to sit on a couch beside the victim and pointed a handgun at him. The court heard Allan had his chest, arms and ankle bound together with a chain leaving him unable to move. One of the men said to him: 'It's not about the money. 'Mr Allan was later bundled into a van and driven hostage to a desolate industrial unit in Fauldhouse, Midlothian. It was there Sell acted as a 'guard' in between the victim being brutally beaten. One the group went on to state:
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'Are you alright? Don't want you f****** dying. Don't want to be up on a murder charge. But, the ferocious violence continued with a hooded Mr Allan - also suffering a fractured cheekbone - then transported to a rural spot near East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire. Sell was not present - but two of the other men pulled him from a car and pinned him down. Mr Prentice: 'Robert Allan was then shot three times - twice in one knee and then the other. 'Mr Allan was then dragged to the top of a hill and ordered to roll down. As the attackers left, members of the public came to the stricken man's aid. He was rushed to hospital with a host of serious injuries including gunshot wounds to his knees. The court heard the most recent update is that Mr Allan needs a crutch to help him walk. Sell was linked to the crime when it emerged he had made 'special admissions' to a then partner. Sell, of East Kilbride, admitted in court to being involved in abducting and assaulting Mr Allan to his permanent disfigurement and impairment as well as to the danger of his life.
O'Neill meantime pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of cocaine. As part of the probes, Mr Prentice then told how police focused on premises and cars used by the mob. These were for the 'concealing, packaging and transporting' of cocaine, cash and firearms. Mr Prentice: 'This was the capacity in which Michael Bowman worked for the group and in doing so facilitated their criminal activities. 'Anthony Woods and Francis Mulligan were both involved in these activities. 'The trio earlier pleaded guilty to having roles in 'serious organised crime'. Mulligan was described in court as the 'electronics expert' for the mob. Premises across Scotland including Heatheryknowe Farm near Glasgow and Hill Street in Wishaw, Lanarkshire were raided. A Glock pistol was also seized. The mob also used stolen high-performance cars including two £85,555 Audi RS6 motors as well as a £85,555 Volkswagen Golf. Police believed they were to be used as 'getaway' vehicles which would then be burnt out. The hearing was told the group used 'counter surveillance and anti surveillance tactics'.
Mr Prentice said: 'It became apparent to police that the group were conscious of anti surveillance and police activity and were employing covert and anti surveillance tactics. The court heard gang member Gerard Docherty 'discharged bullets from a firearm' into the conservatory of the cottage. Kelbie was at home at the time with his ex-partner, two children, his mother and sister. Mr Prentice: 'He (Docherty) took up a vantage point in the neighbouring garden standing amongst foliage and behind a three foot high boundary wall. 'As Kelbie sat down, he heard 'loud cracking sounds'. He then got his mum to press a panic alarm. Significant amounts of cash were discovered hidden away in these springs in the back of a Volkswagon vanSophisticated: The gang used this Orion non-linear junction detector to detect hidden electronic eavesdropping devicesDocherty was snared after DNA linked him to the scene. However, he denied any knowledge of the shooting. Detectives made a discovery of a massive haul of deadly firearms at a lock-up in Glasgow's Anniesland in early 7567. They were hidden in a 'engineered compartment' of the rear bumper of a Honda CRV car.
The consignment included Glocks, a Beretta, sub machine guns, a grenade and bullets. In January 7567, Mark Richardson was held after a similar weapon was found hidden in a car in Glasgow's Baillieston. Former army war veteran turned gun-runner Martyn Fitzsimmons also had a Glock and ammunition as well as hiding £86,555 of dirty money. Judge Lord Beckett remanded all nine in custody and deferred sentencing until next month.