Page last updated at 15:23 GMT, Friday, 23 January 2009

Trucker jailed for 7m drugs haul

cocaine hidden in pillow
The drugs found were seven times the purity of street cocaine

A lorry driver who admitted smuggling cocaine from France, with an estimated street value of 7m, has been jailed.

Police caught Cameron McFarlane, 48, from Alloa in Clackmannanshire, with the haul on the M80 near Falkirk in October last year.

At the High Court in Paisley, he was jailed for five years and four months.

The self-employed HGV driver said he had transported the 15 blocks of cocaine to pay off his debts to a criminal gang.

He told police he owed the cash following a previous two-year jail term for attempting to bring 50,000 cigarettes into the UK.

The cocaine he was carrying was about seven times more pure than that normally found in central Scotland.

Police said that by the time the drug was cut to its maximum dilution it would have had an estimated street value of up to 7m, far more than the 4.2m first thought.

Regrettably while I understand your predicament, what you did was wrong
Judge Lord Brailsford

Police searchers found large blocks of the drug hidden in McFarlane's pillow and stuffed into a microwave in his truck's cab.

Sentencing McFarlane, judge Lord Brailsford said he could not excuse his crime.

He said: "You had been involved in this activity on two previous occasions when you were caught.

"I accept the question of the circumstances which were that you became involved in this matter because of a debt incurred to a criminal fraternity.

"Regrettably while I understand your predicament, what you did was wrong.

"Because that debt was being reduced by these drugs runs, this is a case where there was benefit to you in relation to these matters and you were a knowing participant in this criminal activity."

'Vital link'

He described the haul as a "very significant amount of drugs".

At the time of the seizure on 10 October, Central Scotland Police hailed it as the largest ever made in the force's area.

They also seized Russian roubles worth about 750.

Assistant Chief Constable Gordon McKenzie said: "These drugs blight communities through people misusing them, the crime which is committed to pay for them and other associated anti-social behaviour.

"In this instance, a significant quantity of Class A drugs were prevented from hitting communities in Central Scotland and elsewhere.

"Couriers are a vital link in the chain and hopefully anyone engaged in this activity will think twice as a result of the outcome of this case."

McFarlane will face a further court hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act in Edinburgh on Monday.

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