Football scout jailed for drugs trafficking

Drugs trafficker sentenced to three years and nine months in jail after police seized £450,000 worth of cocaine hidden in secret van compartment.

A man who helped smuggle £450,000 worth of cocaine from England to Scotland has been jailed for three years and nine months. 

Football scout Jordan McKinlay, 30, was handed the sentence by Lord Scott at the High Court in Glasgow after having earlier pleaded guilty to supplying drugs.  

Laura Buchan, Procurator Fiscal for Specialist Casework, of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said the prosecution should act as a strong warning to drugs traffickers. 

She said: “This was a coordinated effort to bring significant quantities of illegal and harmful drugs into Scotland. The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service is committed to working with the Police Service of Scotland and other reporting agencies to stop the activities of serious and organised crime groups. 

 “These individuals threaten communities across Scotland. With each successful prosecution, we can help reduce the harm these drugs inflict on communities." 

McKinlay’s co-accused, Gary O’ Connell, 23, was imprisoned for four years last December for ferrying the drugs from England in the van. 

Prosecutors revealed McKinley was snared after police uncovered a secret compartment inside a Renault Kangoo van containing wrapped packages of cocaine worth £452,000. 

At a hearing last month, the court also heard how both men were brought together by a mutual friend who said he had a job for them to do. 

McKinlay’s role was to provide O’Connell, a joiner, with a van for the return trip to England. 

McKinlay took delivery of the Renault van after it had been driven down to Blackburn and back in April 2020 by O’Connell, of Castlemilk, Glasgow. 

O’Connell then parked the van outside the accused’s home in Gartcosh, Lanarkshire, and handed him the keys. 

Later that night, the Renault was searched by specialist officers acting on intelligence after McKinlay had driven off in a second van. 

The court was told police used a magnet to reveal the specially adapted space and discovered nine blocks of cocaine. 

McKinlay was later apprehended at the Fort Shopping Centre in Easterhouse, Glasgow, and officers found a similar secret compartment in his van and the keys to the Renault. 

As well as the drugs, police also seized encrypted EncroChat phones – used mainly by Serious and Organised Crime gangs - from both men.  

Once decoded, the phones revealed a third party discussing a drugs pick-up with O’Connell. 

McKinlay was sentenced after he pled guilty at a hearing at the High Court in Glasgow last month to being concerned in the supply of drugs.