John Ashcroft jailed over £5.5m cocaine haul
A drug courier caught with high purity cocaine with a potential street value of £5.5m has been jailed for six years and eight months.
John Ashcroft, from Newmains, Wishaw, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.
The High Court in Glasgow heard how police stopped the 43-year-old, who worked as a courier, on the M74 near Canderside Toll in January.
They found more than 12 kilos of cocaine in his van and at his home.
The court heard how Ashcroft had been targeted in a joint operation between Strathclyde Police and the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA).
His van was stopped by police on 28 January after intelligence indicated he was in possession of illegal drugs.
Officers found four kilos of high purity cocaine, with a potential street value of about £1.76m, in the van.
During a later search of Ashcroft's North Lanarkshire home, officers discovered a further 8.25 kilos of high purity cocaine, with a potential street value of £3.8m.
Three 25 kilo drums of benzocaine, a chemical commonly used to cut cocaine, was also recovered.
The court was told that Ashcroft has two previous high court convictions for drug offences for which he received sentences of six years and seven years respectively.
Judge Lord Matthews told Ashcroft that but for his early plea of guilty he would have been jailed for 10 years.
Det Ch Sup Tony Mole, head of investigations at SCDEA, said: "The amount of high purity cocaine and adulterants we seized as part of this operation are an indication of the extent to which this individual was involved in serious organised crime.
"As a result of our investigation, we have prevented a significant amount of illegal drugs from reaching our streets and causing untold harm in our communities.
"A drug dealer is also now serving a much-deserved prison sentence."