A cocaine courier caught driving through Perth with a £24,000 stash of drugs was the “perfect patsy” for organised criminals, a court has heard.
Former bank worker Joseph Elvin agreed to transport the class A substance to pay off mounting debts to central belt gangsters.
The 49-year-old, from Clydebank, was pulled over by officers as he travelled through the Fair City in June 2019. Police recognised the Vauxhall Astra as a vehicle used by a known group of underworld criminals.
Outside McDiarmid Stadium, Elvin’s car was searched and two blocks of cocaine were found hidden inside the driver’s door.
Investigators found tell-tale text messages on two phones found inside the car, and Elvin’s DNA was detected on the packages.
Elvin appeared at Perth Sheriff Court on Tuesday, having previously admitted being concerned in the supply of the drug between June 3 and June 18, 2019.
He was jailed for 35 months, despite a plea from his solicitor Gail Campbell for a non-custodial sentence.
She told the court how her client’s life fell apart when he separated from his partner in 2014.
“Everything suddenly unravelled,” she said.
“For the first time in his life, he started to use illicit drugs,” said Ms Campbell. “And that brought him into contact with people he would have otherwise have never met.
“The more contact he had, the more people he met further up the chain and he became open to abuse.
“He was, to a certain extent, exploited. He was the perfect patsy, in that he was vulnerable with rising drug debts.”
Elvin was told he could pay off the money owed by delivering drugs. “It was put to him as a business proposition,” she said.
“He was genuinely fearful for his safety. He put himself at the wheel, and became a cog in the system.”
Scourge on society
Sheriff William Wood told Elvin that custody was the only option.
“I have sympathy with the fact that you come before the court at your age as a first offender, and that there was a catastrophic downturn in your life,” he said.
“But you have been concerned in the supply of class A drugs. My sympathy can only go so far.
“Drugs are a scourge on society, they wreck lives, wreck families and they can lead to the exploitation of children.”
The court heard that the two blocks of cocaine, found hidden under the electric window button, had a “maximum potential illicit value” of between £12,000 and £24,000, if sub-divided into single gram deals.
Elvin had initially denied all knowledge of the drugs, despite his DNA being on them.