Hard drug seizures soared by 68 per cent in Scotland last year to a total value of £20m.
In only the second year of operation, the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency said the number of large seizures had trebled to 84, with at least 70 organised criminal networks destroyed. The number of professional criminals arrested increased by a third to more than 170.
The agency was set up in 2000 with a budget of £10m to tackle drug trafficking. The staff of 34 civilian experts and 100 detectives is divided between Scotland's eight police forces, and a further £6m in funding will help pay for 64 more officers within months.
At the official opening of the agency's new headquarters in Paisley yesterday, Jim Orr, the director, said the seizures and arrests were largely a result of improved intelligence.
"It is absolutely critical that we become smarter in identifying and taking away money from criminals," Mr Orr said. "Much has been achieved by the agency, and as a result of the co-ordinating role of the SDEA, there is now a better understanding of the nature and extent of drug trafficking, serious and organised crime in Scotland."
Jack McConnell, Scotland's First Minister, said: "It is vital that we have a Scotland-wide approach to ensure there is nowhere for dealers to hide. Drug dealers do not respect police force boundaries.
"Making a real difference on drugs, means better enforcement to attack the supply and action to reduce the demand."
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