A Dundee drug dealer has had his jail sentence extended after he was caught with an illegal SIM card despite an impassioned plea for leniency.
Kurt De’Cruz was locked up in 2018 for his role in the illicit trade of nearly £500,000 of cocaine and cannabis.
He was rumbled after an extensive Police Scotland surveillance scheme dubbed Operation Twisted.
De’Cruz, 32, was back in the dock on Friday – albeit virtually, via video link – after he was caught using an illegal SIM card with his state-issued mobile at HMP Perth.
It is the third time De’Cruz has been caught with a communications device behind bars.
Prison phone confiscated
Fiscal depute Elizabeth Hodgson said the SIM card was found during a routine cell search.
It was found inside a prison-issued mobile phone, she said.
Phones were handed out to prisoners across Scotland during the first Covid lockdown when family visits were banned.
However, the amount of calls inmates could make was restricted.
Representing himself at the hearing before Sheriff Derek Reekie, De’Cruz admitted having the SIM in his room on November 19, last year.
He explained that the card was found inside a replacement phone – given to him by staff – after his own prison-issued mobile went missing.
“It was taken off me after I was put on report,” he said.
“That phone was the only way I was able to keep in touch with my family.
“I really needed to speak to them, because I had a bit of breakdown when my parole was refused and I was rejected for Castle Huntly.”
He said: “My own prison-issued phone was taken away and then it got lost and it was several months before I got it back.
“Obviously I’ve had a really rough year and now I’m looking forward to the end of my sentence.”
De’Cruz, previously of Leyshade Court, Dundee, told Sheriff Reekie he was due to be freed in July next year, after serving five years and a month.
“I know I made a mistake, but I really want to get back to my family and my kids.”
The sheriff responded: “This is the third time you have committed an offence of this nature and, really, the only option available to me is the maximum sentence of 12 months.
“However, I will modify that to eight months because of your early plea.”
De’Cruz was told the sentence would begin at the end of his current jail term.
De’Cruz and accomplices Gilbert MacLellan and Derek McKelvie were jailed for a combined total of nearly 15 years at the High Court in Glasgow in July 2018.
The court heard MacLellan was spotted sauntering into his house in Murrayfield Terrace with heavy bags, prompting officers to storm the property.
Police found him and McKelvie in their living room, with De’Cruz attempting to clamber out of a window with his hands smeared with cocaine.
Cocaine with a street value of more than £400,000, in the process of being combined with mixing agents, was seized. Officers also recovered cannabis and cannabis resin worth nearly £60,000.
Police then conducted a second search at De’Cruz’s home at Leyshade Court, where they recovered further drugs and mobile phones.
The phones revealed De’Cruz had arranged for mixing agents imported illegally from China to be delivered to a woman’s address in the city.
Further investigation uncovered a previous shipment had been taken from her house earlier in 2017 by McKelvie.