Drug dealer had thou­sands of pills hid­den at part­ner’s home

The Oban Times - - News -

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.

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