Paisley Daily Express

Drug courier locked up


An Elderslie lorry driver has been jailed for five years for his part in an operation to flood the streets of Scotland with almost £3.5million of cocaine.

Drug courier Robert Stewart, 54, was snared by police as he tried to smuggle 65kgs of the Class A powder into the country in an HGV.

Stewart, also known as Robert Gifford, was int intercepte­d by police at Ha Hamilton Services, in La Lanarkshir­e, on May 28 last yea year.

He was tailed by officers fro from the Kensington area of London, where he had be been seen putting two ca cases into the lorry.

The sting came during O Operation Venetic, the most significan­t ever UK operation into serious a and organised crime involving Police Scotland, the National Crime Agency and police forces across the UK.

It resulted in the takedown of Encrochat, an encrypted global communicat­ion service used almost exclusivel­y by criminals.

Detectives uncovered cases containing bricks of drugs marked‘Prada’, indicating they had a high purity level.

Stewart, from Thornhill Avenue, had earlier admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine.

He was yesterday sentenced to five years in jail at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Police Scotland and the Crown Office welcomed the sentence and said officers will continue to target dealers and trafficker­s.

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.

“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, added: “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.”

 ??  ?? Prada The drugs were found in a suitcase. Pictures courtesy of the Crown Office
Prada The drugs were found in a suitcase. Pictures courtesy of the Crown Office
 ??  ?? Caught out Robert Stewart
Caught out Robert Stewart

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