Belfast Harbour: Man wanted in Spain arrested on drug charges

Belfast Harbour shipping cranes

A 39-year-old man arrested at Belfast Harbour on Thursday is wanted in Spain over his alleged role in large-scale drug trafficking, a court has heard.

Hassan Ibrahim Gomaa, an Egyptian national, is accused of being part of an international network involved in transporting more than €20m (£17.4m) of drugs from Morocco into Europe in 2013.

Mr Gomaa, who lives in Dublin, was remanded in custody on Friday.

His lawyer told the court he would fight extradition.

Ben Thompson, counsel for the Spanish authorities, told Belfast Extradition Court the warrant for Mr Gomaa’s arrest included “particularly serious” alleged offending.

‘Pirate ship’

“It relates to an international network involved in large-scale trafficking of hashish, of which the accused was a member,” he said.

“It carried out an operation to transport a large stash of hashish to the European market, for which a pirate ship was launched.”

Mr Thompson said the vessel which was spotted after it left Morocco.

The National Crime Agency, Belfast Harbour Police and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) were involved in Mr Gomaa’s arrest at Belfast Harbour.

A spokesperson from the PSNI’s International Policing Unit said: “The police service will continue to work with our international partners to identify and arrest those sought for arrest and extradition.

“Our message is clear: there is nowhere to hide in Northern Ireland and we will actively pursue all wanted persons believed to be in this jurisdiction.”

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