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£250,000 Speyside cocaine bust: £400-a-week Moray 'soldier boy' (20) feared gangsters would 'kill' him

By Court Reporter

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A MORAY first offender caught with more than £250,000 of high purity cocaine in Aberlour told detectives that Spanish gangsters would “kill” him if he co-operated with them.

McCrea pleaded guilty at Edinburgh High Court today (June 30, 2023).
McCrea pleaded guilty at Edinburgh High Court today (June 30, 2023).

Aiden McCrea, 20, was caught after police became aware that he was involved in trafficking large quantities of cocaine in the north east of Scotland.

The High Court in Edinburgh today (Friday, June 30) heard how officers found coke with a purity of between 80 to 85 per cent – which they reckoned could have fetched £253,600 if sold on the streets.

The drugs squad also found a phone belonging to McCrea, which had highly encrypted messaging app Signal installed.

They found he had been communicating with people in Spain about the substances.

The court heard that two of the people he was communicating with were called Cristiano and Keano – the court heard that the latter crook used a photograph of the former Manchester United player Roy Keane on his Signal profile.

McCrea was described as a “soldier boy” in one of the messages.

Judge Lord Weir heard that McCrea admitted his guilt to the Police when he was arrested at the Dailuaine Terrace property where the drugs were kept.

He “spontaneously” said: “There’s a kilo and a half in the shed.

"I just got phoned by a boy in Spain and told what to do.

“What’s there is nothing compared to what is usually there.

“I honestly don’t know what I can or can’t say. If I say anything these guys will kill me.”

McCrea, who lives in Elgin, pleaded guilty to a charge of being concerned in the supply of cocaine between May 16, 2022 and July 14, 2022.

Prosecutor David Dickson told the court that police discovered that McCrea was using the house at 4 Dailuaine Terrace, Aberlour to store the cocaine.

After arriving at the property on July 14, 2022 to execute a search warrant, they saw McCrea sitting in the driver’s seat of a car beside another male.

Mr Dickson told the court that McCrea then left the car carrying a yellow JD Sports bag which he dropped when he saw the police officers leaving their car.

The court heard that McCrea was arrested and he told the police where they could find the drugs.

He told them that he usually kept more than the quantities of cocaine which were recovered.

Mr Dickson read a selection of the Signal messages to the court.

In one message sent May 25, 2022, Cristiano told McCrea that he would be paid £400 per week.

In a voice message sent June 1, 2022, Cristiano also said: “Don’t f*****g lie to me. You’re responsible for a lot of money.”

Mr Dickson added: “On June 4, a message exchange between Cristiano and the accused includes Cristiano saying to the accused: ‘Call me now or you and I have a serious problem’.

“It continues: ‘If you don’t call me now I’ll send people to find you.’”

Mr Dickson told the court that, on June 25, 2022, Keano told McCrea: “Be ready you’re working tomorrow.”

Mr Dickson added: “On Sunday June 26, 2022, Keano tells the accused to meet someone at 3pm.

"Descriptions of vehicles are passed between the two and the password the purchaser is to give to the accused is ‘Juventus’.

“On June 28, the accused asks if he is finished for the night and he’s told he is but to prepare as tomorrow is the ‘big day soldier boy’.”

Mr Dickson told the court that McCrea had no previous convictions and worked as an apprentice joiner.

Defence advocate Simon Gilbride told Lord Weir that his client wanted to admit his guilt for the offence.

Mr Gilbride also said that he’d reserve his mitigation until a sentencing hearing later this year.

He added: “It is clear from the narrative he made a full and frank admission to the police. He fully accepts responsibility for his actions.

“He wanted to resolve the matter as soon as possible.”

Mr Gilbride told the court that the court would have to call for a Criminal Justice Social Report concerning McCrea’s background as he had never previously served a prison sentence.

He then asked for bail for his client so the report could be prepared with McCrea in the community.

He said the drug trafficker would be willing to notify the police twice a week with regard to his whereabouts.

Lord Weir then granted bail to McCrea and deferred sentence for the court to obtain reports.

He added: “I’m sure you appreciate the seriousness of the offence to which you have pleaded guilty to.

“I will defer sentence to obtain a Criminal Justice Social Work Report.

"It will plainly be in your interests to co-operate with that.

“I am prepared to continue bail.”

McCrea will be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh on August 11, 2023.

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