A Stranraer man who was paid £500 to “look after” a bag of heroin with a street value of more than £22,000 was jailed for three and a half years at Stranraer Sheriff Court this week.
The court was told that Michael Caldwell, 34, described as being currently a prisoner in Dumfries, was in financial difficulties and was receiving a backhander to store the drugs at an address in Stranraer. However, the stash was discovered by police when they searched the property on August 12 last year.
Caldwell’s solicitor, Robert Fairbairn, commented that although his client was involved in the distribution of drugs at a local level and to local people, he was given the drugs to store by someone “much higher up the food chain”. The lawyer remarked: “Mr Caldwell is not an admiral of the fleet, but a very able seaman.”
When the bag of brown powder was discovered at a house in Sheuchan Street, the police also questioned the other occupants of the house, Caldwell’s mother and his 15-year-old son.
Both had broken down in tears when the facts were spelled out to them, with Mrs Caldwell saying she had “no idea” about the package.
The bag contained eight individual bags of heroin with a total street value of £22,392.
In mitigation, Caldwell’s agent said that, at the time, the accused’s benefit payments were not coming through because of a paperwork mix-up at the DHSS and he looked after the bag for £500 as the money would keep him out of financial difficulties.
Sentencing, Sheriff Kenneth Robb told Caldwell that the length of sentence must reflect the high quantity of the drugs involved.