Two drug couriers caught bringing almost £6m of cocaine into Scotland have each been jailed for ten years.
David Murdoch, 55, and Graham McCulloch, 39, were arrested last May following a large-scale cross border police probe.
The operation involved secret hidden compartments in vehicles to hide drugs and the use of a GPS tracker commonly used by crime gangs.
The pair – who appeared via video-link – were sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow on Thursday.
Murdoch, of Linwood, Renfrewshire, and McCulloch, of Airdrie, Lanarkshire, earlier pled guilty to being concerned in the supply of cocaine between October 11, 2019 and May 19, 2020.
They also admitted to a charge under the Proceeds of Crime Act of possessing more than half a million pounds in cash.
Lady Stacey told them: “Couriers are essential as, otherwise, the drugs do not get to where they are intended.
“Anyone involved who travels up and down from London to Scotland plays a vital part.
“I am going to impose heavy sentences due to the time and amount involved.”
The judge said they jail-term would have been 15 years each, but for the guilty pleas.
The pair were both hit with three-year Serious Crime Prevention Orders designed to tackle and restrict criminals when they are freed from prison.
Prosecutor Paul Kearney told an earlier hearing: “They accept being engaged in the transporting and delivering of very large quantities of cocaine as well as the means of payment for the consignments.
“On the final two days, one of these consignments of cocaine – weighing 59 kilos – plus £409,595 and 289,500 in Euros were recovered from the car and van being used by them.
“They accept joint responsibility for the drugs and cash seized.”
Detailing how they were caught, Mr Kearney said the Metropolitan Police got a tip off last May 12.
A Mercedes van driven by Murdoch and McCulloch as passenger was tailed from central London to Surrey then Scotland.
A week later it was tracked again as Murdoch was clocked dropping off heavy bags at different addresses in London before meeting up with McCulloch at a hotel car park in Kent.
They were eventually stopped by police on the A74 at Ecclefechan, Dumfries-shire last May 19. Murdoch was driving a van and McCulloch a BMW car.
When Murdoch’s vehicle was searched, it had a hidden area in the back which was operated by a hydraulic system.
Police found inside 43 blocks of cocaine weighing 52kg.
There was a further seven kilogrammes of the drug in the BMW as well as well as the cash.
The maximum value of the cocaine was between £4,720,000 and £5,900,000.
Murdoch faces a further hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act in April in Edinburgh.
Jennifer Harrower, procurator fiscal for specialist casework, said: “I hope these convictions and sentences send a strong message to others involved in bringing drugs into the country.
“It is thanks to intelligence that we were able to stop these drugs from reaching Scotland’s streets, and this kind of operation is invaluable to us as prosecutors working with our partners.
“Drugs do great harm to communities across Scotland and we will continue to work as a key part of the Serious and Organised Crime Taskforce to protect those communities.”
Detective chief superintendent Stuart Houston, Police Scotland’s Head of Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism Unit, said: “Our continued success in seizing drugs is a huge blow to the activities of organised criminals. Making Scotland a hostile environment for criminals to operate remains an absolute priority for Police Scotland and underlines our commitment to the country’s Serious Organised Crime Strategy and Taskforce.
“I welcome their convictions, and the sentences handed to Murdoch and McCulloch today as well as take the opportunity to show my appreciation to the officers for the work involved.
“This also shows the value and importance of our continued partnership working with other police forces and law enforcement agencies including the National Crime Agency.”