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Friday, 3 June 2011

drug courier caught with £5.5m of cocaine in his van on the M74 has been jailed for nearly seven years.

17:06 |

John Ashcroft, 43, from Newmains, North Lanarkshire, pleaded guilty at the High Court in Glasgow to the supply of the Class A drug.

Ashcroft was arrested by officers from Strathclyde Police as part of an investigation by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA).

He was stopped by police on the M74 near to Canderside Toll on January 28 after investigators believed he was in possession of illegal drugs. Officers searched the van he had been driving and found 4kg of high purity cocaine worth approximately £1.76m.

Police later searched Ashcroft’s home and recovered a further 8.25kg of high purity cocaine worth approximately £3.8m, as well as three 25kg drums of benzocaine - a chemical commonly used to cut the drug - in his garage.

The judge jailed Ashcroft for six years and eight months.

Experts at the SCDEA estimated that the total amount of high purity cocaine and contaminants seized could have been used to produce over 139kg of street level cocaine, with a total approximate street value of £5.56m.

Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Mole, head of investigations group at SCDEA, said: "The amount of high purity cocaine and adulterants we seized as part of this operation are an indication of the extent to which this individual was involved in serious organised crime.

"As a result of our investigation, we have prevented a significant amount of illegal drugs from reaching our streets and causing untold harm in our communities. A drug dealer is also now serving a much-deserved prison sentence."

Lindsey Miller, head of the Serious and Organised Crime Division at Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, added: "This was a very significant haul of Class A drugs and its interception would have caused significant disruption to the drug traffickers involved."

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