Belfast Telegraph

More than 100 witnesses to give evidence during £1m cannabis haul trial linked to Asian crime gang

More than 100 witnesses will take part in the trial. (Gareth Fuller/PA).
More than 100 witnesses will take part in the trial. (Gareth Fuller/PA).

By Alan Erwin

More than 100 witnesses will feature in a case involving the seizure of nearly £1 million worth of cannabis, a court in Belfast has heard.

At least eight defendants are facing charges linked to a major investigation into the alleged illicit trade by an Asian crime gang.

The scale of the prosecution was disclosed as one of accused appeared in the dock for a review hearing.

Taxi driver Abakar Mohamod denies charges of possessing and conspiring to supply Class B drugs.

The 39-year-old Somalian national was detained with some co-accused in January during a police operation in Belfast.

A previous court was told officers recovered bags of herbal cannabis with a potential street value of £490,000 from a car stopped on the M22 as it headed towards Derry.

The taxi's sign was in the boot and the meter was not running, according to the prosecution.

Two other Chinese men were detained in the Shore Road area of Belfast on the same day, one of them allegedly carrying a bag with £70,000 worth of identically packaged drugs.

Searches of a nearby property uncovered another consignment of herbal cannabis valued at £390,000.

Mohamod, a father-of-six with an address at Woodstock Road in the city, is allegedly linked through phone messages.

He appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court today for an update in proceedings.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall was told the case is now linked to charges brought against other defendants.

A prosecution lawyer revealed there are now eight accused, and more than 100 witnesses.

Judge Bagnall agreed to list a preliminary enquiry hearing for the end of January.

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