Gang member jailed after police seize £1.6m of cocaine

John Gurie was held in April 2020 following raids on his home, van and lock up garage in East Kilbride.

Gang member jailed after police seize £1.6m of cocaine iStock

A gang member has been jailed for six years after police seized £1.6m of cocaine.

John Gurie was held in April, 2020 following raids on his home, van and lock up garage in East Kilbride, Lanarkshire.

On Tuesday, a judge heard how the 38-year-old plasterer got involved after the pandemic affected his job.

Detectives had kept tabs on the Gurie during the probe into an underworld mob.

Officers found drugs had been hidden in a secret compartment in the Citroen Berlingo van.

Gurie had also been in contact with associates using an encrypted mobile phone.

He was jailed at the High Court in Glasgow on Tuesday having earlier pled guilty to being concerned in the supply of cocaine.

Lady Stacey said it was “evident the planning and organisation” involved in the crime.

She told Gurie: “You played a significant role in this operation.”

The judge added the jail term would have been eight years, but for the guilty plea.

Prosecutor Angela Gray earlier said Gurie had been monitored as part of the investigation into a West of Scotland crime gang.

He was detained on April 21, 2020 near his home in East Kilbride.

Police initially searched the property and found 3kg of cocaine in a cupboard.

The van was found parked outside the lock up near Gurie’s home.

Ms Gray said: “The vehicle was found to have been adapted. It had a complex hydraulic hide which opened with a key fob.

“This sort of concealed compartment is typically used by organised crime groups for transporting controlled drugs.”

Police discovered a further 11kg of cocaine stashed there.

A hydraulic press – used to package drugs – was found in the lock up.

Ms Gray said the cocaine had a purity of up to 82% and a potential value of between £1.4m and £1.6m.

Data was recovered on the encrypted phone linking it to Gurie.

This included photos of illegal consignments, discussion on how to operate the ‘hide’ in the van and moving the drugs.

The advocate depute said: “Gurie was part of an organised crime group – that is accepted.”

Billy Lavelle, defending, said the Covid lockdown had seen Gurie’s work “run down to a trickle”.

The lawyer added: “He stupidly agreed to get involved in this.”