NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Mother who stored £300,000 of drugs in Lossiemouth jailed

High Court in Edinburgh
Image caption Peel was sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh

A mother who has been jailed after being caught with more than £300,000 of drugs in Moray said criminals had threatened to harm her children.

Sasha Peel, 29, had cocaine, heroin and the sedative etizolam at her home in Lossiemouth in August last year.

Peel said she believed she had no other option due to fears for her two young children.

At the High Court in Edinburgh she admitted supply charges, and was jailed for three years and four months.

She admitted being involved in the supply of drugs between March and August last year.

'Vital part of system'

Judge Michael O'Grady QC said he would give a one third discount off the five-year term that she would have otherwise have received without a guilty plea.

He said: "I have taken into account your admissions which have been full and haven't been contradicted by the Crown.

"However, there are aspects of this case which cause me anxiety. One is the total value of the drugs which have been seized. The other is the total amount of time which you spent allowing your home to be used as a safe house.

"The courts have made it absolutely clear on previous occasions that people in your position are an important and vital part of the distribution system."

The court previously heard how officers raided Peel's house after receiving intelligence that her property was a storage facility.

They discovered cocaine worth more than £265,000, etizolam which could be sold for almost £60,000, and heroin with a maximum street value of more than £30,000.

Two payments

Richard Goddard QC, prosecuting, said: "The accused claimed that she became involved as she had received a phone call threatening her and her children with harm if she didn't agree to have her house used as a 'safe house'.

"The accused stated that she expected to be paid money in return for storing the drugs.

"However, she stated that over the period libelled she only obtained two payments; one of £300 and the other for £450, paid by a male who uplifted cocaine."

Defence advocate Edith Forrest told the court that her client became involved in the drugs trade after she ran up a debt from smoking cannabis.

She added: "She was unable to pay it and was informed that it had been passed onto other individuals. It was at that point she was approached and the threats were made towards her.

"It has been pointed out that such endeavours are ran like large businesses. It is my submission that she was at the very lowest end of the empire. She was the lowest rung of the ladder.

"She was targeted because of her own position."

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