A trio who smuggled cocaine and cannabis through Scotland in a multi-million pound scheme have been jailed, authorities have said.
David Brown, 51, Patrick Hattie, 52, and Lawrence Phee, 50, were caged after concealing the Class-A and B narcotics inside machinery and bringing it into the country, said the Crown Office.
Brown and Hattie were sentenced to six years and six months, and five years and six months respectively, at the High Court in Glasgow on Tuesday after a trial, it added.
Phee admitted his part in the smuggling last year and was jailed for eight years and six months in December, it can now be reported.
The Crown Office said Phee directed the operation from North Lanarkshire, arranging for concealed drugs to be brought into Scotland in 15 separate shipments between November 2017 and December 2018.
One of the shipments, inside a fuel tank inside a van driven by Brown, was stopped at Cairnryan ferry terminal, Dumfries and Galloway, on December 1, 2018.
Brown, who was attempting to board a ferry to Northern Ireland, was halted during a routine check before a drug-sniffing dog discovered the hidden narcotics, said Police Scotland.
A Crown Office statement said: “Inside the fuel tank he was transporting, officers found four kilos of cocaine, 23 kilos of herbal cannabis and more than 5000 bars of cannabis resin, worth around £1.8m in the UK.”
The prosecutors said all three men were involved in the shipment, with Phee hiring the van; Hattie paying for it and covering the hire with his insurance, and Brown the named driver.
The fuel tank had been delivered to Hattie’s business premises in Shotts, North Lanarkshire, under the fake company name Kelly’s Compressors, it added.
Ian Gardner, Police Scotland’s head of border policing command, said: “We are committed to continuing to make Scotland a difficult environment for criminals to operate and we are focused on disrupting and arresting those involved.
“Officers work hard to keep safe the thousands of passengers and workers travelling through or operating within our ports and protecting Scotland’s entry points.”
Jennifer Harrower, procurator fiscal for specialist casework, said: “This was an extensive operation that brought significant quantities of illegal and harmful drugs into and through Scotland.
“Phee and his associates tried to conceal their crimes but were ultimately foiled.”
Proceeds of Crime action has started against Phee.
All three men were sentenced for three counts under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, said the Crown Office.