Preston drug courier avoids jail after three ounces of cannabis discovered in Louis Vuitton rucksack

Medical cannabis being cultivated at a secure and controlled facility in Kent
Muhammad Dar admitted being concerned in the supply of cannabis and cocaine, and possessing the former with intent to supply at Carlisle Crown Court. Credit: ITV News

A man whose drug-dealing delivery operation was exposed after police found cannabis in a Louis Vuitton rucksack inside his car has narrowly avoided prison.

Muhammad Dar, now 24, was stopped by police at the wheel of a Volkswagen vehicle on the A591 near Kendal on 12 December 2020.

Officers noticed a smell of cannabis and Dar admitted that he had a small amount in a door panel. Police recovered that and, as they searched the car, found a Louis Vuitton rucksack on the back seat.

This contained three ounces of the class B drug with a street value of up to £1,050. A mobile telephone and £210 in cash was also recovered.

Analysis of the phone revealed messages which showed Dar was in contact with at least 17 people offering to supply cannabis and cocaine.

“It is fair to say that the majority of the messages relate to cannabis,” prosecutor Kim Whittlestone told Carlisle Crown Court.

“The messages show a degree of organisation and are business-like in manner.”

Dar would post “shopping lists” of amounts and types of cannabis. In addition, the messages showed he was prepared to travel and deliver across a sizeable area of north west England.

He admitted being concerned in the supply of cannabis and cocaine, and possessing the former with intent to supply.

Oliver Saddington, mitigating, told how Dar, of Albert Terrace, Preston, had begun smoking cannabis at university, progressed to using cocaine and then got into debt.

Dar maintained he was coerced into dealing by those he was in debt to.

Since the arrest, Dar has taken significant steps to turn his life around, working two jobs, carrying out voluntary charity work and improved his health and well-being, the court heard.

There were character references from his fiancée, a charity worker and an imam at the mosque he attended.

“All depict the sort of person who has put things behind him and someone they want to succeed,” said Mr Saddington.

“Faith has proved a valuable source of rehabilitation.”

Judge Nicholas Barker concluded he could “just” step back from custody, suspending a 24-month jail term for two years.

However, the judge said Dar had been a “more than willing participant” in a “retail drug-dealing operation”.

Dar must complete rehabilitation and 250 hours community work.

“You have today stepped up to the very brink,” said Judge Barker. “You have leaned over the edge and one-inch further will have you going over the edge.”

He added: “You leave the dock a very fortunate man.”