Pair ordered to forfeit suspected drug money

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By Richard Morgan

Police seized £97,250 from Birchall and Conley

TWO men have been ordered to hand over nearly £98,000 obtained through drug trafficking.

Elliot Paul Birchall (28) and James Conley (57), from Liverpool, were ordered to forfeit the money under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

During 2009/10, Operation Triton was carried out by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency in a bid to disrupt a Scottish organised crime group from trafficking drugs. This group also had ties with criminals based in Liverpool.

Birchall was stopped by police officers outside Glasgow Central Station in September 2010, who discovered £31,890 in a black holdall. The cash was found to be contaminated with a substantial amount of heroin.

Conley was stopped on 23 September 2010 at Haymarket Station in Edinburgh and was carrying £65,360 which was also found to be heavily contaminated with heroin.

On the same day convicted drug dealer Norman Bell, from Glasgow (53) was found by police to be in possession of heroin with an estimated street value of £210,000. Conley and Bell were convicted by the High Court for their involvement in drug trafficking. They were sentenced to 24 months and 8 years in prison respectively.

The cash was forfeited by order of the Sheriff at Edinburgh in November 2011.

The Civil Recovery Unit, who are responsible for these cases, argued that the cash represented or was intended for the use of unlawful conduct, specifically drug dealing.

Ruaraidh Macniven (corr), Head of the Civil Recovery Unit, said:

“The Civil Recovery Unit will continue to work with the police and other law enforcement agencies to use civil proceedings to take the profit out of crime.  As well as providing a significant sum for the public purse, the recovery of this cash will mean that it cannot be used by those who exploit the vulnerabilities of others through the supply of controlled drugs. “

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