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Dundee dealers jailed over squalid £34k operation that put children at risk

The three dealers were found with significant quantities of heroin and cocaine at their addresses in Dundee.

Police found four children in the filthy house with drugs within easy reach.
Police found four children in the filthy house with drugs within easy reach.

Three Dundee dealers whose squalid drugs operation put young children at risk have been jailed for a total of nine-and-a-half years.

Karen Campbell, Elaine Whyte and Sean O’Brien were caught peddling heroin and cocaine worth nearly £34,000.

When police raided Campbell’s filth-ridden house in the city’s Pitkerro area they found four primary school-age youngsters running about among the broken furniture and discarded clothes, with packages of class A drugs within easy reach.

Campbell, 57, and Whyte, 55, appeared at Perth Sheriff Court and admitted being concerned in the supply of heroin at their homes in Westcroft Road and Mauchline Avenue between July 1 and September 20 2019.

O’Brien, 37, pled guilty to being involved in the supply of cocaine at Honeygreen Road and his flat in Balmoral Place on March 25 2019.

Campbell further admitted putting the children at risk of unnecessary suffering or injury to their health by exposing them to unsanitary living conditions where controlled drugs were stored and easily accessed.

Sheriff William Wood rejected attempts by Campbell and Whyte to limit their involvement, claiming their homes were being used as “cuckoo” style safe houses for other dealers.

Raid on ‘extremely unclean’ house

Fiscal depute David Currie said police received a tip-off Campbell and White were involved in the supply of drugs from their homes.

Both properties were raided simultaneously on September 20 2019.

Campbell was at her home in Westcroft Road when police descended at about 11am.

Mr Currie said Campbell told police: “Elaine Whyte came round last night with a black bag.”

The fiscal depute described the state of the house.

“The garden was overgrown with dog faeces around the grass.

“The house was extremely cluttered with little floorspace, due to piles of clothing, furniture and bicycles.

“It smelt of smoke. It was extremely unclean with piles of dirty dishes in each area.

“One of upstairs bedrooms was completely inaccessible due to piles of furniture blocking the doorway.

“It was extremely difficult to navigate around the property.”

The court heard a “systematic search” uncovered multiple bags of brown powder, later analysed and confirmed as a mixture of heroin, caffeine and paracetamol.

“These were recovered from shelves and drawers that would have been easily accessible by children,” the prosecutor said.

Drugs found in bra

The court heard police forced their way into Whyte’s home in Mauchline Avenue.

“The accused was traced in the lounge.

“She was led to an upstairs bedroom where she was strip-searched.”

A package of brown powder – a similar mix of heroin, caffeine and paracetamol – was found in her bra.

She told police: “I picked it up last night, I found it at the front door.”

Whyte then led police to a kitchen cupboard containing two more parcels.

Mr Currie said: “The accused stated she did not know what it was.

“She said ‘two guys had left them there’ but she did admit handling them.”

Other drug paraphernalia, including several sets of scales, were found to contain traces of caffeine and paracetamol.

Surveillance operation

Mr Currie told the court in the lead up to March 25 2019 O’Brien was being watched because of information he was involved in drug dealing.

Officers staked out O’Brien’s mother’s house in Honeygreen Road.

He was seen entering a car, handing over a carrier bag to it’s female occupants and leaving.

Later that night, officers pulled over the car on the A96 near Inverurie.

One of the women told police: “I’ll save you some time, it’s under the seat.”

The bag contained 122.13g of cocaine, worth up to £21,900.

O’Brien was arrested and his phone had tell-tale text messages were “indicative of being concerned in the supply of controlled drugs,” said Mr Currie.

91.54g of heroin, worth up to £8,910 was found at Campbell’s house.

A further 75.42g of the drug, valued at £3.010, was recovered from Whyte’s property.

‘Chaotic’ lifestyle

A solicitor for Campbell said she never used heroin but was addicted to amphetamine and is now-drug-free.

“She was in a difficult financial situation.

“In essence, she has provided a safe house from where the drugs operation was overseen.

“Obviously, she had a very chaotic lifestyle at the time.”

Solicitor Morgan Day, representing Whyte, said her client cared for members of her family and was keen to return to work.

Representing O’Brien, solicitor Jim Laverty told the court: “He became involved in a relationship unaware that his new girlfriend was a frequent drug user.

“He became caught up in that lifestyle.

“Because of his partner’s drugs debts he agreed to deliver this package.

“He bitterly regrets his involvement and is fully aware of the impact of his offending.”

Accused blamed each other

Sheriff Wood told the trio: “It’s often been identified by the court that those who are involved in the supply of class A drugs can expect a significant custodial sentence.

“I have heard nothing today to persuade me from that.”

He added: “In relation to Ms Campbell and Ms Whyte, everything that has been instructed to be said on your behalf has been entirely self-serving.

“You were not just involved in this part-time.

“These drugs were being supplied to individuals in small quantities, where it will have wreaked havoc in their homes, lives and families.

“You appear to blame each other but the fact of the matter is there was significant paraphernalia and drugs found in both of your houses.

“You were concerned in the weighing and the cutting of these substances in order to make them more profitable.”

He told O’Brien: “You were involved with a significant quantity of cocaine and it cannot be said that this was your first brush with the law.”

Campbell and Whyte were jailed for 36 months. O’Brien was handed a 43-month sentence.

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