Larne Port drugs: Man, 22, in court over £1.25m seizure

BBc News Ni :- A man has appeared in court in connection with the seizure of drugs worth £1.25m at Larne Port last year.

Mohammed Khan, 22, was arrested in England on Wednesday and charged with conspiring to supply Class A drugs.

He was taken to Belfast for the hearing at the city’s magistrates’ court on Friday.

The drugs were discovered during searches of a lorry that arrived at Larne Port on a crossing from Scotland on 17 December 2021.

Detectives found 7kg (15lb) of cocaine, 5kg (11lb) of ketamine and 32kg (70lb) of cannabis inside the cab of the vehicle.

Sixty-year-old Donald Moore, from Forthriver Road in Belfast, was driving the lorry and is on bail facing charges connected to the seizure.

BBc News Ni
BBc News Ni

BBc News Ni :- ‘Afraid of flying’

On Friday the court heard that Mr Khan had been identified in CCTV footage as the individual allegedly involved in an exchange with Mr Moore at a service station in England.

Khan, of Salt Street in Bradford, took an empty bag from the cab and returned with it, heavy and full, moments later, a detective claimed.

“When I stopped that vehicle in Larne that very identifiable bag had these seven blocks of cocaine within it,” said the detective.

The detective said the cocaine was of a high level of purity.

“We believe this would be an indication of a person with reasonable standing within the organised crime gang we assert he is a part of,” she said.

She said the police were opposed to Mr Khan being granted bail because there were doubts that he would return to Northern Ireland for further court hearings.

“He was extremely afraid of flying and doesn’t fully appear to understand where he is,” the detective said.

“Following his arrest he told officers that he had swallowed 100 wraps of heroin, we believe to avoid going into custody and coming here.”

After making that claim the defendant was taken to hospital for medical tests, which showed no sign of drug ingestion.

BBc News Ni :- ‘Fish out of water’

A defence lawyer said that Mr Khan lived at home with his mother and his disabled brother who depend on him.

“This [alleged offending] is completely out of character,” said the lawyer.

“The defendant is very much a fish out of water – he’s been crying and is indicative of someone completely out of their depth.”

The judge refused bail and ordered the defendant to appear before the court by videolink on 21 October.

She said: “I appreciate he is a young man in a very difficult position and may be confused about what is really going on.

“However, this was a very substantial amount of drugs.”

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