Drug trafficker jailed for five years

The High Court in Edinburgh.
The High Court in Edinburgh.

A persistent drug trafficker was jailed for five years and 219 days today after he was caught running a heroin dealing “business” from an industrial estate.

Craig Hunter (34) was found to have quantities of the Class A drug worth a total of £5850 on the streets after a police raid.

Hunter put bags of heroin in his mouth but officers restrained him to prevent him swallowing them and he spat them out.

Hunter admitted being concerned in the supply of heroin at a unit at Mitchelston industrial estate, in Kirkcaldy on February 23, this year – his third conviction for the offence making him subject to a seven-year minimum jail term.

A judge at the High Court in Edinburgh rejected a defence submission that to impose the minimum sentence on him would be unjust.

But Lord Uist said he would discount the seven-year term following Hunter’s early guilty plea to his latest drugs crime.

Advocate depute Maryam Labaki (Maryam Labaki) said Hunter had previously been jailed for nine and 18 months for heroin trafficking.

She said police received information that benefit claimant Hunter was involved in drugs supply in the Kirkcaldy area and turned up at the industrial unit where he was a tenant armed with a search warrant.

Hunter, formerly of Dunnikier Road, Kirkcaldy, was seen to leave the premises and get into a car before police approached.

Hunter grabbed items from the centre console and put them in his mouth.

“Officers removed him from the vehicle and restrained him, preventing him swallowing the items,” said the prosecutor.

He spat out two bags of heroin and more of the drug was recovered during a search at the premises, along with scales and a tick list with 11 names on it.

Defence solicitor advocate Iain Paterson said Hunter had struggled with heroin addiction since he was a teenager.

He said: “This appears to have been a problem which has blighted him and prevented him from doing what he hoped to do which was to become a successful electrician.”

He said that following his release from his last jail sentence Hunter was struggling with money, health problems and concern for a relative.

“The consequence of that was that he slipped back into the use of heroin,” said Mr Paterson.

He said trained electrician Hunter had hoped to run a successful property maintenance business from a unit at the industrial estate but found it was just “ticking over”.

“He required something to ensure his addiction was met and that is why he got himself involved in supplying heroin again,” said the defence lawyer.

Mr Paterson argued that it would be unjust to impose the minimum sentence of Hunter given his circumstances and the value of the drugs involved in the case.