Three men arraigned over Marsaxlokk cannabis raid

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Three men were arraigned in court on Wednesday and charged with drug offences after the police seized over 20kg of cannabis grass during a raid on a fishing boat berthed at Marsaxlokk.

The three men – a 38-year-old from Ħaż-Żabbar, a 28-year-old from Marsaxlokk and a 19-year-old from Birżebbuġa have denied criminal conspiracy, importation and aggravated possession of cannabis grass.

The trio was arrested on Monday after they had been observed unloading boxes from the boat and loading them onto a van.

Police Inspector Alfred Mangion who is leading the prosecution told the court that the police were surveying the area for suspected drug activity. The men were spotted unloading the cardboard boxes at around 11pm on Monday.

The police found around 20kg of cannabis grass.

Lawyer Franco Debono appearing for the 38-year-old requested bail for his client arguing that the accused has a job selling auto parts, a clean criminal record and lives in his family home.

The other two co-accused did not request bail.

Magistrate Gabriella Vella turned down the request, saying it was to premature to grant bail.

The defence team appearing for the 28-year-old man told the court that they had tried in vain to get in touch with the police before their client had made a statement.

Inspector Mangion insisted that the accused was given his legal rights and refused medical assistance. The man’s lawyers maintained that the accused could not read and so had signed it without knowing what it meant.

All three were remanded in custody and freezing orders placed on their assets. 

Lawyers Mario Mifsud, Alex Scerri Herrera and Matthew Xuereb appeared for the 28-year-old while lawyer Veronica Ann Spiteri appeared for the 19-year-old.