Drug dealer had thousands of pills hidden at partner’s home
AN OBAN drug dealer was jailed for 10 months last week after police found nearly 3,000 diazepam-style tablets hidden in his girlfriend’s home.
During the case at Oban Sheriff Court, a police witness said the west coast of Scotland ‘was awash’ with the drug and its variants.
Stephen Kelly initally denied being concerned in the supply of the tablets, which he believed to contain diazepam, and attempting to supply them to others. Part way through his trial at Oban Sheriff Court last week he changed his plea to guilty. The 52-year-old also admitted possession of heroin.
The court was told that four officers went to raid the address at Sinclair Drive, Oban, on April 23 last year. They arrived with a search warrant but did not have to break the door down as it was unlocked and they just walked in and found Kelly, his girlfriend and another man and woman.
A total of 2,915 blue tablets were found in different locations in the property and procurator fiscal Eoin McGinty said there were other signs of drug dealing paraphernalia: a small set of scales, bags and cling film, and a quantity of white envelopes. Used, burned, tin foil with heroin residue on it was also found.
The officer leading the raid said that earlier they had come across a known drug user in the town with blue tablets in a similar white envelope.
Another officer said that Kelly’s girlfriend had been upset and shouted during the search: ‘You can do a test on me – I didn’t do any of it.’
Kelly told the officers: ‘All the drugs are mine.’
But the tablets were not what they appeared to be. Test revealed they were etizolam, Detective Constable Greig Baxter a Police Scotland expert on drugs told the court.
‘It is similar to diazepam; a similar compound. It was not a controlled substance in the UK.’
Kelly’s defence agent said that he had that large amount of tablets for his own personal use but the detective discounted this.
‘Three thousand tablets is way, way in excess of anything I have ever heard of for personal use,’ he said. ‘This is someone buying for onward sales and supply.’
When Kelly changed his plea to guilty, Sheriff Anderson said there were two alternatives: custody or a drug treatment-and-testing order (DTTO), a strict regime which is an alternative to prison. The order is supervised by a medical consultant, nursing staff, a resource worker and a social worker. There is a monthly report back to the court and if an addict does not comply, they are sent to prison.
Jane McLaren, Kelly’s defence agent argued that he should be allowed to take part in treatment and not prison as he had been on remand for a month and during that time in prison he had come off heroin.
‘He had become a very chronic and heavy user,’ she said, adding that at times he needed five ‘tenner bags’ a day and was drinking two bottles of vodka. ‘This is not a well man. He was taken into hospital – his addiction got control of him and he was in a downward spiral,’ she said.
But Sheriff Anderson sentenced him to a total of 10 months in prison. She said: ‘I am not persuaded at this juncture that a DTTO is the right road to go down.
‘Perhaps when you come out you will be that bit stronger and able to deal with the matter within the community.’
His partner is being considered for the order and the sheriff felt that at this stage they would stand a better chance of success separately and then be able to support each other.