A DRUG dealer who had enough ingredients to make more than £2 million of ecstasy tablets is behind bars after being nabbed in Rosyth.

Police finally caught up with Connor Smith, 25, after trying to find who was supplying traffickers throughout central Scotland.

The car he was travelling in was stopped on Admiralty Road on August 24 last year and 2,000 ecstasy tablets were found in his possession.

Today, the High Court in Edinburgh heard how officers established that he was the man they were looking for after launching Operation Thuban.

Smith, a prisoner of HMP Barlinnie in Glasgow, admitted being involved in the supply of ecstasy between July 2017 and October 2018.

As part of the investigation into his drugs empire, police raided a property in Alloa in December 2017 and found a pill press, ecstasy in powder form and 65 kilos of a bulking agent which had the potential to make 234,000 tablets with a street value of £2.34m.

The man detained at the address, who was not named in court, told officers that the pill press belonged to Smith.

Smith later admitted buying it from a firm called LFA Machines, he spent over £4,500 with them, and spent a further £600 buying stamps for the pills. The stamps had logos for designer clothes firm Stone Island and Nike's Air Max brand.

Prosecution lawyer Liam 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 that the potential annual output from the press could potentially realise a figure between £390,000 and £1.3m."

On May 3, 2018, police stopped a car on the A92 near Kirkcaldy and the driver, Ian Hiddersley, had 11,000 ecstasy tablets and a kilo of MDMA in crystalline form. The estimated street value was more than £100,000.

Smith’s fingerprints were found on the bags containing the drugs. In September, Hiddersley was jailed for four years.

Mr Ewing said: “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 that 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 that he had purchased the pill press recovered from the Clackmannanshire address and he had been producing ecstasy tablets using it."

Judge Lord Pentland deferred sentence for reports and said: "Connor Smith, you have pleaded guilty to a serious offence. It is inevitable that I will impose a custodial sentence on you." 

Smith was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on February 13.

Police Scotland's Detective Sergeant Jamie Hughes said: "The intelligence we received in relation to Connor Smith indicated that he was playing a significant role in the supply of ecstasy across Forth Valley and Fife.

"Throughout 2018, we carried out a range of searches and executed a number of warrants resulting in the recovery of large quantities of MDMA. All of these recoveries were linked back to Smith and he was subsequently charged on October 8, 2018.

"His conviction should send a very clear message that tackling drug crime is one of our top priorities and whenever information is received in relation to an individual involved in offences of this nature, we will investigate thoroughly to ensure those responsible are brought to justice.

"The public have a vital role to play in helping us remove drugs and drug dealers from our street by coming forward on 101 to report ongoing criminality in their areas. Alternatively, an anonymous report can be made to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."