Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Man wanted over cannabis factory 'arrested after dropping litter'

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A man wanted in connection with the discovery of a sophisticated cannabis growing factory was arrested after being stopped for littering, the High Court heard today.

Jian Tuan Shi was detained in March - 10 months after police inquiries linked him to the find of nearly 300 plants in a Co Down house kitted out for drugs cultivation, prosecutors said.

The 30-year-old Chinese national faces charges including cultivating, possessing and being concerned in the production of cannabis.

He is also accused of having a Taser-type stun gun, fraud by false representation and having articles for use in fraud.

Bail was refused due to the risk of him not turning up for trial.

The court heard Shi, of no fixed address, was believed to have been a victim in a robbery incident in Newry last May.

Prosecution lawyer Conor Maguire detailed how police later searched a house in Bessbrook Shi said he had lived at.

Officers found items allegedly used in drugs cultivation and an electricity card linked to another address in Warrenpoint, the court heard.

Follow-up police searches at the second property led to the discovery of 294 cannabis plants approximately 30 inches tall, and another 400 seedlings.

"They described all of the rooms as being completely lined in reflective foil and there were reflective lights," Mr Maguire said.

Shi could not be located but was put on the police system as wanted for arrest.

Mr Maguire added: "On March 21 the applicant was stopped by police for throwing litter onto a street from his car."

The accused later admitted he had never passed his driving test, and had bought the licence shown to police for £100, the court heard.

Shi denied owning the Taser or having any involvement in the cannabis operation.

Defence counsel Conor Byrne described his client's alleged association with the factory as "very tenuous".

Refusing bail due to the risk of flight, Mr Justice Maguire said: "The court is unable to be sure where this man has lived, what he does or whom he associates with."

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