Police welcome jail term for drugs mule

A Liverpool drugs mule has been jailed for 50 months at Lerwick Sheriff Court after being caught smuggling heroin into Shetland a year ago, claiming he was taking it to a party.

Robert Charles Ruby, 47, is the latest in a string of men from Merseyside to get a long prison sentence for taking heroin in on the NorthLink ships. He had been in custody for a month after failing to appear in Shetland for his case in November.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said it was a classic case of a Liverpool mule arriving in the island off the ferry. The police were immediately suspicious when he arrived on 22nd February last year and he was evasive when spoken to.

When they eventually got ID they became aware there was police intelligence on him. At the police station a search revealed 64.09 grams of diamorphine. It was unusually pure, at 57 per cent, when the usual heroin in the north of Scotland is 42-44 per cent pure. The drug was worth about £8,824 on the street once broken down into deals, giving the seller a profit of about £7,000.

Ruby had told the police it was for his own use and he was taking it to a party but it was clear he had no connection with Shetland and had no idea where the party was.

Defence agent Tommy Allan said Ruby had been in Shetland once before on a school trip. When he brought the heroin in it had been intended for his own use. But Sheriff Graeme Napier suggested he had actually done the dirty on the dealer who sent him to Aberdeen to deliver the heroin and had decided to continue north himself to get the £7,000 profit, risking reprisals.

Mr Allan said he was not aware of any threat of reprisals. Ruby had been asked by one person to take the heroin up and he had not heard from him since. His payment was to have been in heroin. He told the sheriff his client was now on methadone.

Sheriff Napier is not noted for dishing out compliments to drug couriers but he told Ruby his criminal record was not as bad as those of some of his colleagues from Liverpool who had passed before him.

Acting inspector Lindsay Tulloch said: “We welcome the sentence given by Lerwick Sheriff Court.

“This demonstrates the continued efforts of Shetland police to detect and deter drug dealers from coming to these islands.

“The continued support of the community is essential to this success.

“We would reiterate our appeal for members of the public to come forward with any information.”


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