Northern Ireland

Man who discarded case full of drugs in front of police jailed

Anthony James Mark Lowndes. Picture by Alan Lewis
Anthony James Mark Lowndes. Picture by Alan Lewis

A 36-year old man who discarded a black suitcase filled with cannabis in front of plain-clothed police has been jailed.

Anthony James Mark Lowndes appeared at Belfast Crown Court on Monday where he was handed a 13-month sentence which was divided equally between prison and licence.

From Rathmore Street in Belfast, Lowndes pleaded guilty to three offences committed on May 20, 2022 - namely possessing cannabis with intent to supply, and possessing both cannabis and ketamine.

On that date, plain-clothed police officers made themselves known to Lowndes and tried to speak to him as he walked along an alleyway in east Belfast.

Lowndes dropped a black suitcase he was carrying then fled from the alleyway - but was quickly caught and detained.

The suitcase was examined and found to contain five large bags of cannabis amounting to five kilograms of the Class B drug.

Following his arrest, Lowndes's home was searched and a further small amount of cannabis was located in the property along with deal bags and a grinder.

Also seized during the search was a half a gram of ketamine.

During a police interview, Lowndes admitted possessing the cannabis and ketamine found in his home but refused to answer any questions about the drugs found in the suitcase.

He subsequently told a Probation Officer that at the time of the offences he was a regular drug user, was in debt to dealers and agreed to move the suitcase containing the cannabis for £500.

Lowndes also accepted he was selling some drugs.

Judge Mark Reel noted Lowndes has a relevant previous criminal convictions for supplying drugs which resulted in prison sentences.

This included a two-and-a-half year sentence imposed in September 2013 for supplying cocaine.

Also noted by the Judge was a defence claim that Lowndes was "acting as a courier in respect of commercial-scale quantities of drugs."

Judge Reel addressed Lowndes as he stood in the dock and told him "the custody threshold has been passed and only immediate imprisonment is appropriate."

As well as imposing the 13-month sentence, Judge Reel also granted a Destruction Order for all the drugs seized.