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Cannabis worth £30,000 found stashed in suitcase when car stopped outside Belfast hotel


Belfast Magistrates’ Court.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court.

Cannabis worth £30,000 was discovered in a suitcase after a car was stopped outside a hotel in east Belfast, a court has heard.

Police said the haul was stashed among clothing inside luggage searched at the scene on the Upper Newtownards Road earlier this year.

Osman Mohammed, 33 and from Waterside in New Ross, Co Wexford, faces charges of possessing Class B drugs with intent to supply, illegal entry to the UK and motoring offences in connection with the seizure.

Belfast Magistrates’ Court heard he was driving a Mercedes car spotted pulling out of the Stormont Hotel in the early hours of March 25.

He allegedly became evasive and increasingly agitated when PSNI officers on patrol in the area stopped the vehicle and carried out searches.

A suitcase located and examined contained vacuum packed consignments of cannabis with an estimated street value of £30,000.

Mohammed and a second man in the car were arrested at the scene.

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“He denied any knowledge of the drugs and stated that he was only helping the passenger pick up the suitcase,” a detective disclosed.

During a bail application, the court was told the police investigation into Mohammed has stretched to checks being carried out in Sudan and the United Arab Emirates.

Defence barrister Gerard McGettigan stressed his client claims to have been unaware of any drug-related criminality.

He set out how Sudanese-born Mohammed lived in Dubai until he got married and moved with his wife to the Republic of Ireland in 2017.

Refusing bail, however, Judge Laura Ievers cited concerns that the accused could abscond if released.

She said: “The central fear is one of flight.”

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