Police in Dundee feared a debt-ridden drug dealer caught with £21,500 of cocaine was a victim of cuckooing.
More than £20,000 of cash was also discovered after a search was carried out on Desiree Doogan’s home.
The 28-year-old – who had worked as an events manager – had sublet her flat to a man involved in supplying the Class A drug because of her dire financial position.
Cuckooing is the practice of dealers – usually from other parts of the country – moving into debt-ridden customers’ properties as a base of operations.
Doogan herself was found to be “heavily-involved” in street-level cocaine dealing, with evidence linking her to the drugs trade over a four-year period.
She previously pled guilty at Dundee Sheriff Court and as she broke down in tears in the dock, was spared a prison sentence.
Prosecutor Charmaine Gilmartin said police were tipped-off about suspected county lines drug dealing activity at Doogan’s flat on Hazel Drive.
“There was a concern that the accused Doogan was the victim of cuckooing.
“At around 8am on August 10 2022, police attended.
“On knocking the door, they could see the male witness… through the letterbox.”
He let them in and Doogan was not there but they made contact by phone and she said she was safe in in Edinburgh with a friend.
After being told police had taken control of the flat, Doogan said the man was a friend and had been staying there for the past week.
She insisted she was not afraid of him.
The man was arrested after police noted evidence of drug dealing activity in the property.
In their search police found:
- £750 in cash under a pillow;
- A tub of white capsules from a backpack belonging to Doogan;
- £20,980 in cash on top of the fridge;
- A black bag containing cocaine worth between £15,050 and £21,500;
- Two sets of scales;
- A tick list;
- Debt letters sent to Doogan
Doogan was traced four days later on an unrelated matter and returned to Dundee.
As her car was being driven to Dundee from Edinburgh for her convenience, officers detected a strong smell of cannabis.
A search was carried out and a small amount of cocaine and tick lists were recovered.
The tick lists implicated Doogan in the supply of cocaine to various individuals.
Doogan was interviewed and denied all knowledge of the drugs and cash, insisting anything forensically analysed would not be linked to her.
Dealer moved into flat
The court heard police were told by a witness Doogan was off sick from work since June, had not been paid and was in a “great deal of financial trouble”.
She had sublet her flat to the man in June 2022 because she needed money.
Mrs Gilmartin said that man had been selling cocaine from the flat and Doogan had been part of dropping off the drugs.
She did not come up with the cash and the first offender was told she now had a drug debt.
Doogan claimed she had been expecting to be paid half of a quarter bar of cocaine in exchange for the man staying at her address but this was never paid.
‘Complete and utter mess’
Examination of her phone uncovered messages dating from New Year’s Day 2018 which implicated her in supplying cocaine.
Mrs Gilmartin added: “It’s clear from the messages that the accused Doogan’s involvement in the street-level supply of cocaine increased in 2022.
“She was heavily involved in street-level dealing from June 2022 onwards.”
Doogan, of Loganlee Terrace, previously pled guilty to being concerned in the supply of cocaine between January 1 2018 and August 14 2022.
Defence solicitor Ross Donnelly said: “This is a woman that got herself into a complete and utter mess.
“Such is the strength of mitigating factors in this case, this a young lady that is very unlikely to come back to court.
“She has found this very traumatic.
“She is in employment, she has moved away from the address and is beginning to make all of the changes in her life.”
Sheriff Jillian Martin-Brown placed Doogan on supervision for 12 months and ordered her to perform 210 hours of unpaid work.