A DRUG dealer was caught driving with almost four times the legal level of cannabis in his system and thousands of pounds worth of the drug in his car when he was stopped by police in Ryton-on-Dunsmore in the early hours of the morning.
In a holdall in the back of Ardil Mahmood’s car they discovered individually-labelled heat-sealed bags containing two potent types of skunk cannabis with innocent-sounding names.
But Mahmood, 25, of Maybank Place, Perry Barr, Birmingham, escaped being jailed after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to possessing cannabis with intent to supply it.
Instead Mahmood, who also admitted driving with above the permitted level of cannabis in his system, was sentenced to 18 months in prison suspended for two years.
And Judge Sarah Buckingham also banned him from driving for 18 months and ordered him to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and to take part in a rehabilitation activity.
Prosecutor Russell Pyne said that at just before 4am on November 7 last year, the police identified the car being driven by Mahmood in Ryton-on-Dunsmore as ‘a vehicle of interest.’
They stopped the car, and when they spoke to Mahmood they noticed a strong smell of cannabis.
A subsequent test showed he had almost four times the maximum permitted level of the drug in his system, so he was arrested.
And when the officers then searched the car, there was a sports bag on the back seat in which they found seven heat-sealed foil bags, each containing an ounce (28 grams) of cannabis.
Five of the packages were labelled ‘Wedding Cake,’ and two of them labelled ‘Gelato,’ which Mr Pyne explained were the names of two particularly potent strains of skunk cannabis.
Mahmood, who had no previous convictions, admitted the cannabis was his, claiming he had bought it for a total of £50 for his own use.
But Mr Pyne pointed out that because of its strength, the cannabis would have had a street value of around £4,200.
And on his phone the officers found messages to Mahmood, who had pleaded guilty on the basis that he was supplying ‘friends and friends of friends,’ requesting various amounts of the different strains.
Clodaghmuire Callinan, defending, said: “He’s a young man whose life has fallen apart over the last few years because of his use of cannabis.”
She explained that Mahmood had been working at Land Rover until his marriage broke down and he began using ‘copious amounts’ of cannabis.
As a result of that, the Family Court stopped him from seeing his child, which in turn led to him becoming depressed and, in a Catch-22 situation, using more and more cannabis and being told he cannot see his child until he stops.
Sentencing Mahmood, Judge Buckingham told him: “Your vehicle having been stopped, you were co-operative with the police, although you were to mount what turned out to be a false account.
“You admitted you had been smoking cannabis and had some in the car and, worryingly, you were almost four times the legal limit of cannabis.
“In your sports bag you had cannabis, seven ounces in total. You said all of this was for your own use, and that you had purchased it for £50 – a ridiculous claim, given the actual value of the drugs.
“You were clearly involved in drug dealing, and people owed you significant sums of money, around £2,000, and one customer owing you £700.
“The prosecution accepted your basis of plea that you were involved in dealing to friends and friends of friends, although your basic motivation was to keep yourself supplied.”