A former soldier who ran a heroin supply empire from a clutch of mobile phones was jailed for three years today (Thursday, March 13).
Police found more than 1000 text messages from addicts begging for their fixes on mobiles linked to the ex-squaddie, Alex Gray, who acted as a middleman between the junkies and bigger dealers.
Stirling Sheriff Court was told that Gray, 35, was arrested after police acting on a tip-off raided his flat in Deanfield Crescent, Bo’ness.
Depute fiscal Beverley Adam said a small quantity of heroin and a “tick list” of addicts’ names was found in the flat, as well as three mobile phones.
Miss Adam said: “1000 text messages were found on the phones, which related to the supply of controlled drugs.
“His replies indicated whether he had drugs available, and also that he did not supply drugs on credit.”
Three more mobile phones recovered from Gray some days later also had similar messages.
Miss Adam said: “The accused’s role was to orchestrate the supply of drugs, with little or no hands-on involvement.”
The court heard that police raided a second address linked to a co-accused of Gray’s, Murray McCallum.
At Mccallum’s flat in Borrowstoun Place, Bo’ness, officers found five bags of brown powder that proved on analysis to be heroin with a street value of £14,000.
They also found scales, plastic bags and gloves, said to be typical paraphernalia of drug dealers, along with nearly £1000 in cash.
McCallum told police he was selling heroin on behalf of others, to pay off an historic drug debt.
Gray, described on indictment as a prisoner in Addiewell Prison, West Calder, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of heroin at 33 Borrowstoun Place, Bo’ness and 49 Deanfield Crescent, Bo’ness between Oct 16 and December 1 2013.
McCallum, of 33 Borrowstoun Place, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of heroin at 33 Borrowstoun Place on December 1st.
Kelly Howe, defending, said Gray, a father of a 15-year-old daughter, had got involved in drugs after leaving the Army.
She said: “Having returned from Northern Ireland and having left the Army, he found it difficult to adjust to civilian life.
“He quickly started to consume excessive quantities of alcohol, and that brought him into contact with a group of persons who were abusing heroin, and by association with these persons he was introduced to heroin.
“At its highest, he was using about £70 worth a day.
“He was not working, and it didn’t take too long to acquire a significant level of debts to those who were supplying him.
“In order to pay off these debts and to obtain the quantities of drugs he was using, he found himself in the position where he was the middleman - assisting in obtaining drugs for his associates from those who were supplying him.
“He regrets the way his life has spiraled out of control because of his addictions.”
A woman collapsed in tears on the public benches as Sheriff Wyllie Robertson jailed Gray for three years, reduced from four to take account of his early plea.
Sheriff Robertson said: “The only appropriate sentence is a custodial one.”
Sentence on McCallum was deferred for reports until April 4th, and McCallum was released on bail.
Temporary Chief Inspector Mandy Paterson, the local Commander for the Falkirk area, said: “I welcome the sentencing of this drugs dealer, as taking him off the streets helps to keep people safe in the Bo’ness area. This is an excellent result at court today as information from our communities indicated this man was heavily involved in the organised supply of controlled drugs across the Bo’ness area in recent months. I would take the opportunity to ask anyone with information about drug dealing to contact police on 101 or anonymousely to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 1112 so we can continue our efforts to rid our communities of drugs.