A TIP-OFF foiled an attempt to smuggle a kilo of heroin into Shetland, the High Court in Edinburgh has heard.
A major drug gang was thought to be behind the consignment which had a potential street value of £140,000.
On Thursday, Allan Stewart, of 20 Langa Grove, Maryhill, Glasgow, was jailed for three years and eight months after pleading guilty to being concerned in the supply of heroin and having connections with serious organised crime.
Three men in a Volkswagen Passat had been seen acting suspiciously at the Aberdeen ferry terminal on 30 December 2012.
When the overnight ferry docked at Lerwick the following morning of Hogmanay, police watched the Passat drive off the ferry and head north to Voe on the A970.
When police moved in the driver was physically shaking and his voice was trembling when he was questioned, advocate depute David Taylor told the court.
Backseat passenger Stewart was sitting beside a blue holdall containing two flasks which hid the heroin.
Mr Taylor told the court: "The accused, Stewart, is thought to be acting at a very low level within an organised crime group."
He has three previous convictions for simple possession of drugs, the court heard.
Solicitor advocate Euan Cameron, defending, said this was Stewart's first and only involvement in drug trafficking but he had a history of drug abuse.
His habit had led to him running up a debt of £1,000 which he could not pay.
About ten days before the trip to Shetland, Stewart had been taken to a house in Maryhill and assaulted so badly he needed to go to hospital, Mr Cameron said.
Threats were also made against his mum - then he was given a chance to clear the debt by driving to Shetland.
"He chose to accept that offer," said Mr Cameron. "He was unaware of the exact nature of the drugs he was transporting."
Reacting to the 42 months prison sentence, Shetland area commander chief inspector Angus MacInnes said: "This case is yet another example of our commitment to tackle the supply of drugs into Shetland.
"This seizure was the culmination of excellent police work and has stopped a huge supply of heroin going into communities in Shetland and bringing untold misery to those who are involved in drug taking, their families and their communities.
"We will continue to pro-actively target those who are involved in the supply of controlled drugs into the area and I would like to remind the public that we rely on your support and information to disrupt the supply of drugs and arrest those responsible.