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Lossie mum jailed for storing £300,000 of drugs

By Alistair Whitfield

A MUM who became involved in the drugs trade after criminals threatened her kids has been jailed for keeping more than £300,000 of narcotics in her home.

Sasha Peel (29) was arrested after detectives found cocaine, heroin and large quantities of a sedative called Etizolam at her home in Lossiemouth, Moray, on August 8, 2018.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how officers raided Peel’s house in the town’s Cromarty Place after receiving intelligence that gangsters were using her property as a storage facility.

They found heroin with a maximum street value of £31,360, cocaine worth £265,800 and Etizolam which could sold for £59,703.

When Police Scotland interviewed Peel, she said she felt there was no other option.

She said she wanted her children to remain safe.

On Friday, judge Michael O’Grady QC told Peel, who pleaded guilty to charges of supplying drugs that he’d give a one third discount off the five year term that she’d have otherwise received.

Jailing her for three years and four months, judge O’Grady 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 sentence will be one of five years but as you pleaded guilty a full discount of one third will be applied to your sentence.”

At proceedings last month, prosecution lawyer Richard Goddard QC told the court of how Peel became involved in the trade.

He added: "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 for a male who uplifted cocaine."

Peel pleaded guilty on Friday to three charges of being involved in the supply of drugs between March 21, 2018 and August 8, 2018.

Mr Goddard told the court that Peel was a tenant in the property and had lived there since 2013.

He said the police raided the address after receiving information and took her to nearby Elgin police office to be interviewed.

He added: "Following her arrest on suspicion of being concerned in the supplying of controlled drugs, the accused was was interviewed at 6pm that evening.

"In the course of her interview, the accused admitted that the drugs recovered in her house had been delivered to her there and that she was looking after them on behalf of others.

"She stated that persons would arrive to uplift quantities from her and this could happen once every few days or occasionally over a longer period.

"She admitted storing controlled drugs throughout the period libelled. She stated that the persons who would deliver and uplift the drugs were unknown to her."

Defence advocate Edith Forrest told the court that her clientbecame 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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