A drug dealer who tried to flood Fife and central Scotland with drugs had enough ingredients to make more than £2 million of ecstasy.
Connor Smith, 25, was caught by detectives probing who was supplying dealers throughout central Scotland.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard how officers established the man they were looking for was Smith during an intelligence led initiative called Operation Thuban.
Police raided a property in Clackmannanshire and found a pill press, ecstasy in powder form and 65kg of a bulking agent.
Police established the bulking agent had the potential to make 234,000 tablets with a street value of £2.34m.
The story emerged after Smith, a prisoner of HMP Barlinnie, Glasgow, pleaded guilty to being involved in the supply of ecstasy between July 2017 and October 2018 yesterday.
The offences took places at addresses in Alloa.
Judge Lord Pentland deferred sentence to obtain reports on Smith’s character. He also remanded him in custody.
He added: “It is inevitable I will impose a custodial sentence on you.”
Smith will be sentenced on February 13.
Prosecution lawyer Liam Ewing told the court officers raided a house in Clacks on December 28 2017 and detained an individual, who was not named in court.
They found a pill press and MDMA powder that if was made into tablet form would have had a street value of £60,000.
Mr Ewing said: “It was not possible on the information available to assess how many tablets had been produced by the press but it is estimated the potential annual output from the press could potentially realise a figure between £390,000 and £1.3m.”
Mr Ewing told the court the person detained by police identified Smith as the man who owned the pill press.
Forensic officers also recovered his fingerprints from the press and the bag of bulking agent.
The court also heard how police pulled over a black Renault Megane on the A92 outside Kirkcaldy on May 3 2018.
The driver, 28-year-old Ian Hildersley, had 11,000 ecstasy tablets and a kilo of MDMA in crystalline form. The court heard the estimated street value of the drugs was more than £100,000.
Police found Smith’s fingerprints on the bags containing the drugs. Hildersley, a former Scotland under-21 basketball star from Kirkcaldy, was jailed for four years in September 2018.
On August 24 2018, the police finally caught up with Smith when a car he was travelling in was stopped in Admiralty Road, Rosyth.
Officers found 2,000 ecstasy tablets in his possession.
Colleagues established Smith had purchased the pill press from a firm called LFA Machines. He spent a total of £4,509.99 with the company.
He also spent £600 buying stamps for the pills, which had the logos for designer clothes firm Stone Island and Nike’s Air Max brand.
Mr Ewing said police quizzed Smith on October 8 2018.
He added: “Operation Thuban was an intelligence led operation into the sale and supply of controlled drugs in the Clackmannanshire and wider Forth Valley areas by an organised crime group.
“During the course of the operation there were a number of recoveries by police from other individuals which the police then linked to the accused as a supplier.
“The police inquiries established the accused was concerned in the manufacture and distribution of ecstasy tablets. The accused was interviewed under caution and initially answered no comment to all questions.
“However, he thereafter admitted he had purchased the pill press recovered from the Clackmannanshire address.”