The County You Live, Work And Play
Prison Officer Jailed
A prison officer has been jailed for five years for a drug-trafficking plot to smuggle more than £600,000 worth of speed into Scotland.
Russell Baillie, went to Liverpool in a hire car with co-accused Lawrence Simonini to pick up 20kg of amphetamine worth a potential £640,000 on the streets.
He then got a train back to Glasgow while Simonini drove the drugs back to Scotland – wearing Baillie’s prison uniform as cover in case he was stopped.
The crooks, part of a major drug-trafficking ring, didn’t know undercover police were watching their every move. Officers stopped Simonini, 29, on the M74 and found the drugs in the boot.
Police photographed him in the uniform and an investigation confirmed it was Baillie’s.
Baillie, of Shotts, was on sick leave from Cornton Vale women’s jail near Stirling with depression at the time of the failed shipment in March 2014.
He denied all wrongdoing and told police: “I know nothing about any drugs. I went to Liverpool for a day trip.”
Asked why he had given his uniform to Simonini, he replied: “He wanted it for a fancy dress party.”
Simonini, of Carfin, claimed he had no idea there were drugs in the Toyota Verso he had hired in Motherwell for the operation.
He said he had believed the boot was loaded with fake designer jeans, and claimed he had only been wearing the uniform because Baillie told him to.
Baillie smirked and looked relaxed during his trial at the High Court in Glasgow but the jury didn’t believe his story. They convicted him and Simonini of being concerned in the supply of Class B drugs. A third accused, Joshua Quinn, 26, from Liverpool, was also found guilty of involvement in the drug ring. He had trafficked drugs in August 2013 on journeys between Renfrew, Paisley and Larkhall.
Trial judge John Morris QC gave Baillie bail “with some hesitation” but told him: “Make no mistake – you will be going to jail.”
And he kept his promise when the shamed officer appeared for sentence at the High Court in Edinburgh.
Judge Morris told Baillie and his two co-accused: “The jury convicted you of concerning yourselves in the commercial supply of controlled drugs. That is a very serious matter.
You are all bit-part players, but bit-part players in an extensive criminal scheme.
“Big wheels cannot run without little cogs like you helping them out.”
Simonini and Quinn were also jailed for five years.
Baillie’s counsel Paul Nelson asked the judge to restrict his client’s sentence as far as he was able to.