Plane passenger caught with cannabis worth £30k in case

A man making frequent flights into Edinburgh from Spain has been caught with cannabis worth between £29,000 and £30,000 in his suitcase.

Thursday, 11th January 2018, 1:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th January 2018, 1:35 pm
Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Picture: Ian Georgeson

At Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday, 42-year old Francisco Najera was jailed for 24 months. He pleaded guilty previously to being concerned in the supply of the drug.

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When Najera arrived in Edinburgh on November 20 last year, his suitcase was x-rayed and was seen to contain “suspicious packages”. They turned out to be two vacuum packed packages, one containing 5.05 kilogrammes of the drug and the other, 3.5 kilos with a wholesale value of £3500, but between £29,000 and £30,000 in single deals.

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Najera told the police he had been given the suitcase in Malaga and “very much suspected there was drugs in it”. He added that he had been told to expect a text message on arrival in Edinburgh with instructions for the handover. He had planned to spend two days in the city before returning to Spain, where he would receive 2500 euros. He told police he had “financial difficulties”.

Defence solicitor Colm Dempsey told Sheriff Thomas Welsh QC that his client had a relatively successful business, but it had failed in the global turndown and the decision to act as a drugs courier was made out of desperation. Mr Dempsey said Najera had been “somewhat naive about the overall impact of the drugs trade”, the size and scale of the operation and the value of the consignment. He had no previous convictions and pleaded guilty to the offence at the earliest possible opportunity.

Sheriff Welsh told Najera that he took into account his previous good character, but bringing drugs into this country was a serious offence and he had done it for personal financial profit. However, he added, he would give him full credit for not wasting the court’s time by his early plea and his co-operation with the authorities. He therefore reduced a sentence of 36 months to 24 months, backdated to November 21 last year.