Glasgow & West Scotland

Student jailed after hiding 10kg of cannabis in suitcase

Zixian Long Image copyright Stewart Robertson
Image caption Zixian Long was caught with 10kg of cannabis at Glasgow Airport on Hogmanay 2017

An Edinburgh University art student has been jailed for two years for trying to smuggle drugs worth £100,000 into Scotland in a suitcase.

Zixian Long, 21, was caught with 10kg of cannabis at Glasgow Airport on Hogmanay 2017.

Long was returning from Barcelona when she was stopped by Border Force officers who found the drugs in her shrink wrapped case.

She was convicted after a trial at Paisley Sheriff Court.

Long was found guilty of being "knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of the prohibition on the importation of controlled drugs" by importing herbal cannabis through the airport on 31 December, 2017.

She was also convicted of being "concerned in the supplying of a controlled drug" on the same date.

'Favour' for her mother

Det Con Alan Ferguson told the court the drugs haul was worth £100,000 if broken up for lower deals or £40,000 if bought wholesale.

Speaking through an interpreter Long, who moved to the UK about 10 years ago, said her mother had been approached online by someone who offered to pay her trip if she brought luggage back from Barcelona.

She explained: "There was an opportunity to go to Barcelona for free and my mum asked me if I wanted to go with her."

Long said she and her mother went to "tourist attractions" in the city, including museums.

Her mother then asked her to bring a suitcase back, which was dropped off at their hotel by a Chinese man.

She explained: "She [my mother] said if I could bring this luggage back for them this time they would pay my trip.

"I wanted to do my mum a favour. I wasn't thinking too much.

"I just thought 'I'll help someone to take their luggage'.

"I am her only child and we have a tie of love with each other."

'Stain on character'

Defence Solicitor Advocate Maurice Smyth said Long's life had been devastated by her actions.

He explained: "The background of Miss Long is impeccable - she has no previous convictions or, even, the slightest brush with the law.

"She lives with her father who is a doctor and has a medical practice in Edinburgh."

Mr Smyth said the impact of the conviction could not be underestimated..

He added: "This is an horrific stain on the character of her family and on herself.

"Personally, socially and career-wise, the consequences of a conviction are so devastating she can't see any possibility of recovery for herself or for her family."

He asked Sheriff Tom McCartney to impose an alternative to a custodial sentence, but the judge ruled the case was too serious.

Long was jailed for two years, backdated to December when she was first remanded in custody.

The judge said: "Having regard to the quantity, the value and the potential value of the controlled drugs, I consider that no sentence other than a sentence of imprisonment is appropriate."