A Linwood dad was jailed yesterday after he was snared as a courier during a Highland drug run.
Steven McCallum, 34, and co-accused Garry Jordan, 35, of Old Kilpatrick, West Dunbartonshire were caught with a haul of cocaine worth £900,000.
The pair were stopped by police near Aviemore with officers discovering approximately three kilos of the Class A drug on May 29, 2020.
At the High Court in Edinburgh, Jordan was put away for five years and eight months while McCallum received a prison term of four years.
A court heard that an analysis of messages from an encrypted Encrochat phone placed Jordan “in a logistics role at a mid level in the hierarchy of the organised crime group”.
Jordan, of Thistle Neuk, Old Kilpatrick, and McCallum, of Kintyre Avenue, both earlier admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine.
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Jordan pleaded guilty to being involved between March 27 and May 29, 2020 and McCallum to involvement on a single day, May 29 in 2020, when the car was stopped.
A judge told the duo that, on any view, the only appropriate disposal in the case was a custodial sentence.
Lord Arthurson said: “You are both family men with children.”
He said Jordan had been assessed as posing a moderate level of risk and McCallum as a medium risk.
Prosecutor Blair Speed said that police stopped a Vauxhall Corsa the pair were in on the A95 road between Aviemore and Carrbridge and found a holdall in the boot that contained packages of drugs.
Some of the cocaine was up to 76 per cent pure and its potential value was around £889,000.
They also recovered a suspected Encrochat phone. The encrypted chat app was used in criminal circles but European law enforcement agencies accessed it.
Mr Speed said that Jordan was found to have used Encrochat between March 27 and May 7 in 2020 over his involvement in cocaine supply. He said that in one message he was described as being a “manager”.
Defence counsel Paul Nelson KC, for Jordan, told the court: “He would not accept the classification of being middle management. He is not a man who enjoyed an affluent lifestyle and no confiscation proceedings have been brought against him.”
“He is not a truly significant player in the enterprise but he is a cog in the machine,” added the defence counsel. He said that Jordan had a drug debt which had been exploited by others.
Brian Fitzpatrick, defence solicitor advocate for McCallum, said he had been acting as a courier for the drugs on a single day.
He said: “His involvement in this enterprise occurred during a lockdown period. He was working up until the lockdown. He was one of those who fell through the net of government assistance.”
He said McCallum had an excellent work record in normal times but had agreed to do the drug run on one occasion for a single payment.
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