LONDON -- Actor Stacy Keach, who plays detective Mike Hammer on television, today admitted trying to smuggle a small quantity of 'diabolical' cocaine into Britain and was sentenced to nine months in jail.
'This is a grave offense,' Judge John Murchie told Keach in the Reading Crown Court west of London.
Keach was arrested April 3 while arriving at Heathrow Airport. Most of 36 grams of cocaine were found concealed in an aerosol can of shaving foam in Keach's suitcase, police said. His secretary, Deborah Steele, also was carrying cocaine and she was sentenced to three months in jail.
'At the time, it (the cocaine) was taken as a means of trying to avoid exhaustion, trying to maintain one's concentration,' Keach told the court, according to London's Standard newspaper.
'One of the diabolical things about cocaine is that it gives you a false sense of security and gives a momentary sense of energy, which is immediately followed by depression.'
A court official said she understood that Keach was trying to arrange an appeal to the jail sentence.
Prosecutor Richard Green said Keach, 41, and Steele, 40, were searched because they were picked out in a random check at Heathrow.
On the evening of his arrest Keach, star of 'Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer,' was flying to London to record a voice-over for the latest episode of a made-for-television movie, 'Mistral's Daughter,' police said.
'I can't deny the deep humiliation and embarrassment for what happened,' Keach said. 'I only hope that I can make amends by, as a public person, taking public posture in trying to help other people in rehabilitation.'
Judge Murchie said, 'What is clear is this is a deliberate offense. You both knew you had the drug when you were bringing it in. This is a grave offense.'
The 1 ounces of cocaine confiscated had been given a value of $7,500.
Keach was the third celebrity arrested at Heathrow in a stretch of four months at the start of the year by customs officials. Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney's wife, Linda, and actor Tony Perkins were both caught with marijuana in their bags.