Trucker smuggled cocaine worth millions

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The Independent Online

A lorry driver who claimed to be smuggling drugs to pay off debts to a criminal gang admitted today bringing millions of pounds-worth of cocaine into the country.

Cameron McFarlane, 48, was caught with a large quantity of cocaine in his truck on the M80 motorway, close to Falkirk in central Scotland.



He pleaded guilty at the High Court in Glasgow today to being involved in the supply of a controlled substance.



Prosecutors believe the drug, which was about seven times purer than cocaine normally found in the area, had an estimated street value of £4.2m.



McFarlane, who lived in Alloa, Clackmannanshire, with his wife and stepchildren, was stopped by police at about 11.40pm on 10 October.



His truck was taken to a revenue and customs office for inspection and he admitted that he was transporting drugs, although he said he did not know what the substance was.



Advocate-depute Alistair Carmichael told the court: "The accused informed the police there were what he described as 15 blocks of controlled drugs in the back of the lorry."



A search by Central Scotland Police uncovered the drugs, as well as Russian roubles worth £750, the court heard.



McFarlane was arrested in the early hours of 11 October. In a police interview, he said he was smuggling the drugs to clear debts owed to a criminal gang. He admitted bringing drugs into the country three times.



This went back to a previous conviction several years earlier, he told police. He was once caught trying to smuggle 50,000 cigarettes into the UK and was imprisoned for two years.



His failure to bring the tobacco into the country left him saddled with a huge debt and he was compelled to smuggle the drugs to pay this off, the court heard.



Mr Carmichael said: "He had since been released from his prison sentence, and he had been working to pay off his debt by transporting large quantities of drugs in and out of the country."



The cocaine found in his lorry was 73 per cent pure, Mr Carmichael said. Cocaine seized in the Central Scotland area was normally about 10 per cent pure, meaning the drug had a high street value when cut up and sold.



Lord Brailsford, hearing the case, called for social inquiry reports and deferred sentence until next month.