A MAN from Devon who claimed he was in possession of a friend’s heroin worth up to £7,500 and over £1,000 in cash for just a few minutes has been jailed for three and a half years.
Campbell MacDiarmid, from Paignton, admitted being concerned in the supply of the Class A drug when he appeared from custody at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Wednesday.
Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie described the 51 year old, whose address was given as Grampian Prison, as a “foot soldier” in a group from Devon who were involved in the sale of heroin.
He said police were on patrol when they noticed the accused’s car, about which they had “significant amounts of intelligence”, parked outside a house in Lerwick’s Ladies Drive on 21 November last year.
Officers approached MacDiarmid as he emerged from the house, at which he dropped one package on the ground and threw another one away.
He was immediately detained and a search of his clothing revealed £1,100 in cash, while the packages were retrieved and found to contain more than 75 grammes of heroin, with a street value of around £7,500.
Defence agent George Mathers said his client denied being part of a gang of drug dealers and was in Shetland to visit his son.
Relating a “convoluted” story about MacDiarmid’s involvement in this case, he said his client had been asked to retrieve the drugs and cash from the house on behalf of an acquaintance who had been ordered to stay away from the property as a condition of his bail.
Mathers said this acquaintance had been ordered to leave Shetland by the court where he too was facing drug charges, but had no money to make the journey.
The court heard that MacDiarmid had told the police he had been in possession of the drugs for only a “matter of minutes” before being caught.
Mathers admitted his client had a lengthy criminal record, which included a three year jail term in 2007 for dealing cannabis.
Describing the size of the drugs haul as “very significant”, Sheriff Philip Mann jailed MacDiarmid for 40 months backdated to November and forfeited the cash.
“I’ve said on loads of occasions that those who deal drugs in Shetland will be dealt with harshly,” the sheriff said.
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