A former footballer who used his sporting and business connections to peddle drugs was jailed for 51 months.
Former St Johnstone midfielder Martin Maher was described in court as "a principal supplier of cocaine to users” in Auchterarder, Perthshire.
Maher was caught with more than one-and-a-half kilograms of cocaine, with a potential street value of £78,250.
The 29-year-old, who played 14 games for the Perth side, pled guilty to being concerned in the supply of the drug between February 2007 and February last year.
Maher, of Victoria Road, Auchterarder, was sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh on Tuesday.
Judge Lord Bannatyne told Maher: "You were somebody who, it seems, came from a good background where your family was able to offer you a job and able to offer you a considerable position in society."
The court heard how father-of-two Maher earned between £1000 and £5000 a month from the family’s construction business.
Advocate depute Keith Stewart said it was "a well-established and substantial enterprise, which was started by his father".
The prosecutor added: "All the purchasers knew Maher and were known to him from the locality, usually through local football teams, school connections or work."
Acting on a tip-off, police set up an under-cover operation and tailed another man as he drove a van belonging to the family firm to Widnes, Cheshire, where he picked up a package from a man in the street.
The van was stopped and searched in a lay-by near Balhaldie as it drove home along the A9. The package contained a kilogram of cocaine.
Not all of the package would have been delivered to Maher, said Mr Stewart, but the watch on him continued and another half kilogram of the drug was seized. Maher was arrested as he got off a flight after a working trip to Spain.
The former St Johnstone youth signing made his first Scottish Premier League appearance in 2002. He later moved to Forfar Athletic after ten games for the McDiarmid Park side.
Defence advocate John Hamilton said that after leaving the SPL Maher had continued to play football at junior and "serious amateur" level. Until recently he had turned out for a local Auchterarder team.
Mr Hamilton said Maher regretted his actions. "He now understands the consequences of what he has done. He approached the matter with a degree of naivety."
The lawyer likened Maher's part in the chain of supply to that of a retailer or shop. Maher did not enjoy the "trappings of wealth" but lived in a former council house with a £100,000 mortgage and shared the family car.
Two other men have already been jailed for their part in the same drug peddling operation.
In response to the sentencing, Detective Superintendent Willie Semple, of the Crime Intelligence Division, said: “We are satisfied with today’s sentence. It sends a very clear message to those people who traffic drugs into our area to peddle them on our streets that their dangerous trade will not be tolerated.
“This intelligence-led enquiry has ensured that 1.6 kilograms of cocaine will not now reach the streets of Tayside. We see that as a significant success and one that causes significant disruption to a local serious and organised crime group.
“Tayside Police aims to reduce the harm of serious and organised crime and make life for these criminals as inhospitable and hostile as we possibly can. Illegal drugs can have a devastating impact – not just on individuals, but for their families, friends and the communities where they live.”