Lorry driver who smuggled over £3m of high purity cocaine into Scotland jailed for five years…

A LORRY driver who trucked over GBP3million of high purity cocaine into Scotland has been jailed for five years. Robert Stewart, 54, was nabbed by cops after they stopped him and discovered over 65kg of the Class A drug in his motor on May 28 last year.

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Robert Stewart was jailed for five yearsLorry driver who smuggled over £3m of high purity cocaine into Scotland jailed for five years...

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Stewart trucked GBP3m of cocaine across the border

The grandfather claimed he had been “duped” into transporting cocaine and believed he was carrying tobacco – but his lawyer admitted he had been a major “mistake”. He was caught by police during Operation Venetic, hailed by senior officers as the largest takedown of organised crime in the UK by law enforcement.

Stewart was seen stowing away two suitcases with the cocaine in London before he drove north and was stopped at a service station in Hamilton, Lanarkshire.


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The court heard that the lorry driver was to be paid GBP8,000 for transporting the illicit drugs to Scotland. A judge told Stewart, also known as Clifford: “Drug trafficking wrecks lives and blights communities where drugs take hold. Drugs cause misery and deprivation in society.”

Lady Poole said at the High Court in Edinburgh: “You voluntarily involved yourself in the supply of drugs. You were not the directing mind of this operation, but you were an essential link in the chain of supply.” She told the grandfather that he was involved in “a very significant operation” for the supply of a Class A drug.

Lorry driver who smuggled over £3m of high purity cocaine into Scotland jailed for five years...

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Stewart was nabbed by cops at a service station

Lady Poole told Stewart that he would have faced a seven and a half year sentence for the crime, but for his early guilty plea.

Advocate depute Richard Goddard QC said: “The purity of the cocaine was found to be between 74 and 80 per cent. This is described by police expert witnesses as ‘importation purity’.” Stewart was alone in his truck when he was stopped and his DNA was found on the handles and zips of two suitcases containing drugs.

He also left his fingerprints on a block of cocaine. Mr Goddard said on May 27 last year police in London had two men under surveillance in Kensington who were both wheeling cases. They approached Stewart’s parked lorry and passed up the goods to him.

The drug courier then slept overnight in the vehicle at a service station in Buckinghamshire, before journeying onto Scotland the next day.

Lorry driver who smuggled over £3m of high purity cocaine into Scotland jailed for five years...

Defence solicitor advocate Shahid Latif said: “At the age of 54 he looks now to the rear view mirror of his life and it is clear the events of May 27 and May 28 were precipitated by an error of judgement that has been catastrophic for Mr Stewart.” “In my submission it is fair to say he was duped into committing this offence. His understanding was he had been sent to collect tobacco and possibly money.”

Mr Latif said it was during the course of the journey at a motorway service station that Stewart came to realise what was in the suitcases. He told the court: “He realises he made a mistake and for that mistake he now has to pay the price.” Detective Chief Superintendent Stuart Houston, Police Scotland’s Head of Organised Crime, said: “Keeping our communities safe and free from the nefarious activities of organised criminals remains an absolute priority for Police Scotland and I welcome the conviction and sentencing of Clifford.

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“Officers work tirelessly to disrupt these activities and the intelligence-led operations, undertaken with our policing and law enforcement partners, led to some of the largest seizures of drugs made in Scotland.

We continue to work closely with our UK and European law enforcement partners, underlining our determination to target those involved.” Jennifer Harrower, Procurator Fiscal for Specialist Casework, said: “Drugs do great harm to communities across Scotland and with each case of this kind we can help reduce that harm. “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.

We will continue to work as a key part of the Serious and Organised Crime Taskforce to protect those communities.”

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