A Moroccan national has been sentenced to seven years in prison after importing £5.15 million of cannabis into Gibraltar.
Mourad BOULAICH MEHAMDI, 32, of Tangier, was sentenced at the Supreme Court this afternoon, after pleading guilty to Importation of a Class B Drug, Possession of a Controlled Class B Drug (1.03 tonnes of cannabis resin) and Being a Non-Gibraltarian found in Gibraltar without a Valid Permit or Certificate.
The court heard how a member of the public called the Royal Gibraltar Police’s Control Room at 7.45pm on 8 January last year, regarding a RHIB (Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boat) that had run aground on the northern end of Eastern Beach.
On police arrival, officers found the abandoned vessel and seized 32 bales of cannabis resin, weighing approximately 1.03 tonnes.
Minutes later, the Gibraltar Defence Police were monitoring their cameras, when they spotted someone walking in the area of the worksite next to Eastern Beach and the Airfield, which they reported to the RGP.
Then at 9.15pm, officers from the Policia Nacional at the Land Frontier contacted the RGP, as they had stopped a man entering Spain from Gibraltar.
He was soaking wet, wearing unlaced shoes that were full of sand and had no travel documents.
RGP Drug Squad officers then arrived at the frontier and identified the male as BOULAICH MEHAMDI.
After a quick search, he was found to be in possession of cannabis resin weighing approximately 50.9 grams.
RGP officers then arrested him for Being a Non-Gibraltarian without a Valid Permit, the Attempted Exportation of a Controlled Class B Drug and Possession of a Controlled Class B Drug.
The RGP and GDP then teamed up with a search dog and searched the RHIB and the surrounding area, finding discarded items of clothing, which are typically worn on drug trafficking vessels.
Later that night at New Mole House, he was interviewed under caution, when he denied any involvement with illicit drug trafficking activity.
After the interview, he was further arrested for the offences of Importation of a Prohibited Import (the RHIB), Importation of a Controlled Class B Drug (1.3 tonnes of cannabis resin) and Possession and Possession with Intent to Supply.
That same night, Drug Squad detectives analysed his mobile telephone, where numerous photographs of BOULAICH MEHAMDI were found aboard the confiscated RHIB, dated the 08/01/21, with bales of cannabis resin clearly visible in the background.
The photographs showed the suspect’s full face, wearing the clothing that had been recovered from the worksite.
Further charges of Possession with Intent to Supply (1.03 tonnes of cannabis resin) and the Prohibited Importation of a RHIB have been left on file by the court.
Richard Ullger, Commissioner of Police, said: “I am extremely grateful to the various agencies who helped us to bring this man to justice. In particular, I’d like to express my appreciation to the Gibraltar Defence Police and the Policia Nacional.
“Within the RGP, our Drug Squad detectives worked long hours to bring this case to a successful conclusion.
“Organised crime recognises no borders. It causes significant harm and affects the stability of communities. We will not allow Gibraltar to be used as a perceived safe haven for organised criminals, and will continue to challenge drugs trafficking activity and associated criminality, as well as targeting logistical networks and proceeds of crime alongside our local, regional and international partners.” ENDS