Northern Ireland news

Man arrested in connection with £1.25m drugs seizure at Larne Port told police he had swallowed 100 wraps of heroin

Khan was remanded in custody to appear again by video-link on October 21

A MAN arrested in England in connection with a £1.25m drugs seizure at Larne Port told police he had swallowed 100 wraps of heroin, a court heard

yesterday.

Mohammed Khan (22) is believed to have made the claims in a bid to avoid being brought to Northern Ireland for questioning about the consignment of cocaine and cannabis, a detective said.

Khan, of Salt Street, Bradford, was remanded into custody charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

The haul was discovered during searches of a lorry that arrived on a crossing from Scotland on December 17 last year.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard seven kilos of cocaine, 32 kilos of cannabis and five kilos of ketamine were found inside the vehicle's cab.

The driver of the lorry, Donald Moore (60) from Forthriver Road, Belfast, is on bail facing charges connected to the seizure.

Khan was detained on Wednesday by PSNI's Organised Crime Unit following inquiries with police in Yorkshire and West Midlands.

A detective said he was identified by CCTV footage and surveillance as the individual allegedly involved in an exchange with Moore at a service

station in England.

Khan took an empty bag from the cab and returned with it, heavy and full, moments later, it was claimed.

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

Opposing bail, she stressed the cocaine's high levels 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.

Doubts were also expressed that if released Khan would return to Northern Ireland.

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

Those claims led to Khan being taken to hospital for medical examinations.

Asked if tests showed any sign of drug ingestion, the detective replied: "He suffered no ill effects (if he did swallow anything)".

During cross-examination, no indication was given that Khan's fingerprints have been found on the drugs.

Defence counsel Declan Quinn told District judge Amanda Brady his client lives with his mother and disabled brother who depend on him.

"The defendant is very much a fish out of water, he's been crying and is indicative of someone completely out of their depth," he said.

Refusing bail, Mrs Brady 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."

Khan is due to appear in court by video-link on October 21.

A 41-year-old man charged as part of the investigation is due before the same court next month.

Northern Ireland news