A MAN who was involved in dealing cocaine in Haddington and Dunbar was jailed last week, together with three other members of an organised crime gang responsible for flooding the region with the Class A drug.

Dale Cleeton was found to be the driving force behind the group’s wholesale level activities while imprisoned at HMP Edinburgh.

The 31-year-old’s illicit activities were uncovered after two mobile phones and SIM cards were found in his cell on October 22, 2021, and April 25, 2022.

They contained messages with 30-year-old Calvin Begbie, who was described as Cleeton’s right-hand man.

He was responsible for assessing the condition or quality of cocaine before it was moved on to lower-level dealers.

The duo regularly exchanged messages with details of ‘tick lists’ – individuals who had paid or were due to pay sums of money for the supply of drugs.

Begbie, the owner of a landscape gardening business, also sent photographs of the cocaine to Cleeton so he could check them.

Discussed 'wages'

On June 2, 2022, Begbie was stopped by police officers while driving. They discovered a quantity of cocaine, £2,980 in cash, and two mobile phones.

A follow-up search at his home uncovered £5,440 in cash, more high-purity cocaine and a Safescan money counter.

Fraser Boyd, the uncle of Begbie, allowed his Edinburgh home to be used as a storage facility for quantities of cocaine and associated paraphernalia.

In February 2022, his nephew discussed the ‘wages’ the 51-year-old would receive for holding the drugs, at a rate of £150 for each kilo of cocaine.

The messages suggested that the group was turning over about £186,000 per month based on their own estimates of each kilo deal being worth £31,000.

Investigators found that Mitchel Whyte, a self-employed gardener, was a subordinate in the organised crime group.

The 24-year-old was responsible for selling ‘quarter’ and ‘half bars’ of cocaine in the Haddington and Dunbar areas.

In a message exchange with Cleeton, he complained that he was due about £20,000 from customers.

'Wholesale scale'

On Friday at the High Court in Glasgow, the crime gang were jailed for more than 18 years collectively.

Cleeton was jailed for seven years, Begbie for six, Boyd for three and Whyte for 32 months.

Cleeton and Begbie were both given Serious Crime Prevention Orders (SCPOs) for a period of three years.

The orders will come into effect once they are released from prison and are designed to prevent the men from returning to crime.

Sineidin Corrins, deputy procurator fiscal for specialist casework at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), said:  “Three of these individuals were responsible for the supply of cocaine on a wholesale scale in the Edinburgh and Lothian areas, while the fourth allowed the drugs to be stored in his home.  

“They are now serving lengthy prison sentences thanks to the work of prosecutors and an extensive police operation to tackle and disrupt serious organised crime. 

“I hope that these convictions, and the sentences, send a strong message to others involved in this kind of criminal behaviour.

“They demonstrate the ability of police and prosecutors to investigate, prepare and prosecute serious and organised crime cases of this nature.  

“We are targeting those people who threaten communities across Scotland, not only drug couriers but also those who direct their movements.  

“The Crown will continue working with the police and other agencies as a member of Scotland’s Serious and Organised Crime Taskforce to ensure that these crimes are detected and those responsible prosecuted using all measures at our disposal.”  

Cleeton and Begbie previously admitted being involved in serious organised crime involving the supply of drugs between August 20, 2021, and June 2, 2022.

Boyd earlier admitted being involved in serious organised crime between the same dates by agreeing to store cocaine.

Whyte previously admitted being involved in serious organised crime between October 3, 2021, and March 18, 2022, involving the supply of drugs.

A Proceeds of Crime confiscation order against Cleeton and Begbie will be considered at a later date.