DRUG smuggler from Edinburgh has been imprisoned for two years and eight months at Lerwick Sheriff Court after he was busted by police taking heroin off the ferry from Aberdeen.
Police, acting on a tip-off, arrested 37-year-old Euan McArthur at Holmsgarth ferry terminal on 20 March. They found 129 grammes of heroin with a street value of about £13,000 in a hollowed out loaf that had been plugged with cheese.
McArthur, who appeared from custody on Wednesday, was already serving a sentence that was due to expire later this month.
Defence Agent Tommy Allan said that McArthur, who had previous convictions for assault, was “bullied” into carrying the drugs whilst in prison.
According to Allan, a cell phone belonging to another inmate was found in McArthur’s cell, which meant that he owed a debt to that inmate with steep rates of interest. Between the debt and threats issued to McArthur and his family, he was forced to take the heroin.
Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said that McArthur had been “nervous and furtive” when approached by police and had admitted he had the drugs in the rucksack before it was searched.
At the station, McArthur confirmed he was taking the drugs into Shetland and would receive £3,000 for the package from an unnamed person.
Of this, £500 was for his travel expenses and the balance was to be taken back to Edinburgh to pay for the drugs.
Allan said that his client had no prior involvement in drugs and that his violent crimes had been alcohol fuelled, but he had managed to get clean in prison. He was serving prison time for breaking a previous release order.
Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said that selling class A drugs, including heroin, was a “foul and pernicious” trade that brought misery to many communities.
He said that the message was that “we do not want these drugs in Shetland” and that anyone who flouted that message would be dealt with severely.
McArthur’s 32-month sentence is to run consecutively with his other sentences, which are due to be complete on 19 October.