Court / Drugs courier jailed for 16 months

A DRUGS courier carrying heroin and cocaine with a potential street value of more than £13,000 has been sent to jail for 16 months.

Michael Gallagher, with an address at Old Caley Road, Irvine, pleaded guilty to two charges of attempting to supply Class A drugs when he appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court via video link from Barlinnie Prison on Wednesday.

The court heard how the 37-year-old was about to disembark from the overnight NorthLink ferry when he encountered a team from the Dogs Against Drugs charity in the ferry’s reception area on 14 July last year.

As he was trying to distance himself from the sniffer dogs and thus acting suspiciously, police colleagues were called, and Gallagher was searched.

Officers found 121 grams of heroin that broken into smaller units could have realised more than £8,000. They also discovered 55 grams of cocaine, potentially worth between £4,000 and £5,500.


Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie said the enterprise was designed to pay back a “significant drugs debt” Gallagher had accumulated.

Speaking in mitigation, Gallagher’s solicitor said his client’s life had been in a downward spiral ever since his business failed during the pandemic.

Gallagher is currently in custody for two unrelated matters and was likely to continue to be behind bars for those cases until 9 June.

The solicitor said Gallagher has always had a “problematic relationship” with alcohol, and turning to cocaine since his business failed had left him with some substantial debts.

Asking for leniency, he said his client was doing well in prison and was nine months into a recovery treatment.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said that acting as drug couriers as a way to clear debts was an “all too common occurrence”.

And he told Gallagher: “You made a choice to become involved in this trade.”

The 16-month sentence will run from today. The sheriff also granted forfeiture of all items seized by police.

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