A MAN’s attempt to smuggle heroin worth more than £30,000 into Shetland through the post by concealing it in chocolate boxes and a spice jar was foiled by drugs detection dogs, Lerwick Sheriff Court heard on Wednesday.
Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie described Andrew Flaws’ supply as a “money making operation”.
The 38-year-old, whose address was given as Grampian Prison, appeared from custody via video link on Wednesday to admit being concerned in the supply of diamorphine to others between 8 April and 1 July last year.
The offence related to three packages sent to Shetland in the post last year. The first was intercepted at the Lerwick mail delivery office April, with the other two following in May and June.
The court heard that the first package was addressed to an associate of the accused.
It was a Milk Tray chocolate box – sent by special delivery – which contained 25 bags of heroin placed in the holes where the confectionary would have been.
Some of the chocolates were still in the box, Mackenzie said, who added that the package was picked up by drugs dogs.
The weight of drugs in the package amounted to 245g.
The second package was similar in circumstances – a chocolate box containing 17 bags of powder which was intercepted by the dogs. The weight was 184 grams.
Mackenzie said there was a “clear pattern emerging”, as the recipient on the parcel was a relative of the associate involved in the first package.
The third package was again detected by the drugs dogs. Mackenzie described it as a spice jar, with the substances weighing 27.62 grams.
“It was heavily disguised with perfume in an attempt to disguise the odour to the detection dog,” he said.
Mackenzie said broken down into their smallest sellable amounts, the value of drugs seized came to £30,490.
But he conceded that figure only represented what was actually recovered.
The court heard that the amounts of drugs were lowered each time to lessen the risk of loss to those involved.
Police enquiries resulted in a search warrant at Flaws’ address, with officers recovering packaging linked to the Glasgow post office where the three intercepted parcels were sent from.
They also recovered money and a mobile phone which had correspondence with an associate in Glasgow related to the packages.
These included instructions being given about how to package the third item with perfume.
“This was not the accused simply trying to put down little bits of heroin to feed a habit,” Mackenzie said.
The court also heard that there was a picture on the phone of what appeared to be Flaws holding a “significant amount” of heroin – essentially advertising it.
Sheriff Ian Cruickshank adjourned the case for the preparation of a criminal justice social work report.
The case will next be heard on 8 June, with Flaws remanded in the meantime. His defence will give representation on this date.
Consideration of forfeiture of the items seized by the police has also been continued to 8 June.
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